Harrisburg Baptist Church had its beginning on Sunday, September 24, 1933, at the Rankin School building.Rev. W.T. Darling, who had worked and preached in the community for twelve months, called the organizational meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. on said date.On this special day Rev. H.G. West of Ecru, Mississippi, preached a sermon entitled "The Marks of a New Testament Church." Following the sermon G.H. Flaherty made a motion to organize a Missionary Baptist church. E.M. Tucker seconded the motion. The group voted unanimously to organize the church with twenty-two charter members.
On Wednesday night, September 27, 1933, the members met again at Rankin School, at which time the name Harrisburg Missionary Baptist Church was chosen and Rev. Darling was called as pastor.The first officers of the church were Norman Tucker, deacon; G.H. Flaherty, secretary; and G.H. Flaherty, E.M. Tucker, and A.H. Jackson, trustees.
Believing that a church consists of a body of baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, banded together for worship, service and fellowship, we declare and establish this constitution for the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith; to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of Southern Baptist churches; for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church; and the freedom of faith and action of this body in relation to other churches.
This constitution takes precedence over and supersedes all prior actions, policies and governing instructions.
ARTICLE I - NAME
This body of believers shall be known as Harrisburg Baptist Church of Tupelo, Mississippi, hereinafter referred to as "the church."
ARTICLE II - PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
The primary purposes and objectives of the church are:
- To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, our community and
- throughout the world.
- To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person and responding in obedience to His leadership.
- To promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the inspired and infallible Word of God.
- To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
- To promote the spread of the Gospel and extend the kingdom of God by ministering unselfishly to persons in our community, by supporting missions and benevolence throughout our community, state, nation and the world.
- To promote and maintain the public worship of God and Christian education so as to help people experiencing a growing knowledge of God and His saving grace.
- To be Christ-like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
ARTICLE III - NON-PROFIT STATUS
Harrisburg Baptist Church shall be operated purely for religious purposes, without profit. The Association of the membership was formed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining religious worship.
ARTICLE IV - STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and as such is the basis for our statement of faith.We believe that the Bible contains a perfect treasury of heavenly instructions; that it has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.We believe that the Bible reveals the principles by which God will judge us and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and religious opinions shall be tried. Harrisburg Baptist Church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of "The Baptist Faith and Message" as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ, personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation with lost mankind. We observe the ordinances of the church, which are baptism and the Lord's Supper.The church receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice.Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of Southern Baptist churches as indicated in the Articles of Faith herein.
ARTICLE V - CHURCH COVENANT
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, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, His church, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We pledge, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to serve God in the unity of the spirit and of Christian love; to strive for the growth of this church in knowledge and holiness; to walk together in Christian love; to promote the spiritual and physical welfare of the church; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry of the church.
We also pledge to maintain family and private devotions; to educate our children religiously; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to serve God in all of our relationships; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealing, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to be faithful to the church; to seek to be an example for Christ in all things; to use our influence to combat militant sin and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further pledge to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating liquor and other substances; to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other 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.
We moreover pledge that when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and this principle of God's word.
ARTICLE VI - CHARACTER
SECTION A - POLITY
The government of this church is vested solely in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body nor does it seek to exercise such control but recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches.
In the event of a schism the church shall ask a disinterested commission of Southern Baptist leaders to arbitrate. The doctrines and practices recognized by the united body as stated in the constitution prior to the occurrence of any schism therein shall be used as the criteria for awarding church property.
SECTION B - AFFILIATION
This church shall be affiliated with the Lee County Baptist Association, the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
SECTION C - VOTE
The members of the church are equal in rank and privilege and may vote in democratic fashion at the regular and called business meetings as prescribed by the by-laws.
SECTION D - AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
This constitution may be amended at any regular business meeting or any special meeting called for that purpose by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting at such meeting, provided that:
- The proposed amendment or amendments shall be presented in writing to the members present at any regular business meeting or called business meeting at least three weeks prior to the amendments being voted on.
- The amendment or amendments shall be available in the church office to all other interested persons not in attendance at the initial business meeting wherein said amendment or amendments were first presented in writing.
- At least three weeks advance notice shall be given prior to any vote being taken on the proposed amendment or amendments and that such notice shall be run in the weekly church publication and in the church bulletin during the intervening Sunday services.
- Public announcement shall be made at least three Sunday morning worship services preceding any meeting for the purpose of adopting such amendment or amendments.