Hightower Baptist Association Principles

The Abstract of Principles are Biblical truths on which we base our faith. There are 11 of them and they are listed below. We also have a set of bylaws listed under the Abstract of Principles.


ARTICLE 1. We believe in only one true and living God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three in one.

ARTICLE 2. We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.

ARTICLE 3. We believe in the doctrine of original sin.

ARTICLE 4. We believe in man’s inability to recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature of his own free will and holiness.

ARTICLE 5. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the merits of Jesus Christ.

ARTICLE 6. We believe in the election of all God’s people that they are saved and called according to His purpose and grace given them in Christ Jesus before the world began. II Tim. 1:9 and in II Thess. 2:13. “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.”

ARTICLE 7. We believe the saints shall persevere in grace and not finally fall away.

ARTICLE 8. We believe that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ; that true believers are the only people subject and the only scriptural mode of baptism is immersion.

ARTICLE 9. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and general judgment.

ARTICLE 10. We believe no minister has the right to administer the ordinances only to such as have been called by God, as was Aaron, regularly baptized, approved by the church and come under the imposition of hands by a presbytery.

ARTICLE 11. We believe that none but believers have a right to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

The following Constitution and Bylaws were adopted by the Hightower Baptist Association on September 29, 1994. The rules were reviewed and finally adopted on September 28, 1995, at Mayfield Baptist Church, Forsyth County, Georgia, during the Hightower Baptist Association. This Constitution and Bylaws shall govern the Hightower Baptist Association until amended.


We the Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, having all been baptized upon a profession of faith in Christ and desirous of a spiritual union, we therefore propose to maintain order and rules of an Association according to the following plan:

Article 1.

1.1 This Association shall be known by the name of THE HIGHTOWER BAPTIST ASSOCIATION and shall be composed of Messengers chosen by the different Churches in our Union who, upon producing letters from their Churches certifying their appointments, shall be entitled to a seat.
1.2 Messengers from member churches shall become delegates when seated. All ordained ministers having Church membership within the Association, or serving a Church within the Association, Officers of the Association Chairmen of the Standing Committees, members of the Standing Committees, and Assistant Parliamentarians are to be seated as delegates.
1.3 Each Messenger shall register at the convention of the annual meeting of the Association. Upon registration, the Messengers will automatically be seated as delegates. At a time deemed appropriate by the Moderator, the Clerk and Moderator shall inquire as to any Messengers whose names are not registered and such unregistered Messenger shall, upon addition to the register, be seated. The Clerk of the Association may delegate a registration committee to compile the list of Messengers to be seated. Upon proper registration, it shall not be necessary to conduct a role call of the Messengers to be seated. To assist with registration, each Church shall forward to the Clerk of the Association a list of all Messengers chosen by the Church. This list will be forwarded not less than ten days prior to the annual meeting of the Association. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, the Clerk or delegated registration committee may devise a method of pre-registration to avoid registration requirements at the meetings of the Association. All member Churches shall endeavor to choose Messengers who are able to attend Association meetings. The Clerk of the Association or the delegated registration committee shall furnish to the Nominating Committee all registered delegates as soon as possible after the convention of the Association, however, not later than the second day of the annual meeting of the Association.
1.4 Each Church in the Union may have two delegates and one additional delegate for every fifty members in excess of seventy-five members. In no case shall the combined representation of a Church exceed five delegates.


Article 2.
2.1 The Association thus formed shall choose by ballot a Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Clerk and Assistant Clerk, and Treasurer, who shall serve for one year. The Moderator shall be ineligible for one year after having served in the office for two years. It shall be permissible for the office of Clerk and Treasurer to be filled by the same person.

Article 3.
3.1 The Association shall have no coercive form to lord over it and shall abide in God’s heritage and word in conducting all functions of the body. The Association shall be considered an advisory council in all matters respecting the internal concerns of the Church.
3.2 When an offense may be committed by one Church against another or when a serious difficulty may arise in an individual Church, it shall be the duty of the Association to take the matter or controversy into consideration and decide upon it. However, intervention by the Association shall come only after gospel steps have been taken between the offending and offended Church or within the individual Church, as the case may be. The Association shall have the authority to issue rulings. Churches, which are the subject of such rulings, shall receive such rulings as advisory in nature. Nothing contained herein shall affect or impair the independence of each member Church. However, the Association may remove any Church from fellowship with the Association if the offenses involving the member Church are contrary to the Abstract of Principles of the Association or if such offenses jeopardize the spiritual integrity of the Association or the member Churches, or for other proper reasons which harm the fellowship and existence of the Association. The procedures for excluding a Church from fellowship set forth in Article 4, hereinafter addressed, shall be followed.
3.3 The Association may issue advisory rulings on points of doctrine or questions posed by any member Church. The Association is empowered to issue position statements or policies concerning matters affecting the well being of the member Churches or the individual members. The Clerk of the Association shall maintain a separate register of all rulings, position statements and policies passed or issued by the Association.

Article 4.
4.1 The Association shall be solely responsible for determining membership within the Association. Any Church seeking admission shall satisfy the Association as to the petitioning Church’s qualification, including compliance with the Abstract of Principles of the Association. The Moderator may delegate a committee to determine the qualifications of the petitioning Church. This committee shall be known as The Committee to Examine New Churches on Articles of Faith.
4.2 Upon majority approval by the Association, the petitioning Church’s admission into the Association shall be manifested by the Moderator extending the right hand of fellowship.
4.3 The Association, upon two-thirds vote by the delegates, shall have the power to exclude any Church from the Association upon grounds that the Church has departed from the orthodox principles of the gospel, or for any other proper reason that jeopardizes the union of the Association. Any church subject to exclusion shall have adequate and fair opportunity to defend any charges. The Association may delegate a tribunal for hearing, if deemed necessary to afford fairness. The tribunal shall report its findings at the next meeting of the Association. Unless otherwise delegated by the Association, the Executive Committee shall act as the standing tribunal.
4.4 Admission or exclusion of any church shall be entered into the minutes and recorded by the Clerk of the Association The Clerk of the Association shall notify any Church in writing as to admission or exclusion and shall publish same within the minutes of the Association.
4.5 Any member Church desiring to withdraw from membership of the Association shall request withdrawal in writing. Upon majority approval of the Association obtained during the annual meeting, the petitioning Church shall be entitled to a letter of dismissal and membership will be canceled. The Clerk of the Association shall enter such withdrawal into the minutes of the Association and remove the withdrawing Church from the list of member Churches.

Article 5.
5.1 Queries are extraordinary inquiries of doctrinal matters in order to resolve doubt or questions. While encouraged for matters of doctrinal question or dispute, queries should be used sparingly and cautiously

5.2 Queries shall be presented at Union Meetings prior to presentation to the Association, or posed by a member Church. The Standing Committee on Queries shall convene not later than noon on the first day of the annual meeting of the Association to review any queries presented and make recommendations to the body of the Association. The Standing Committee on Queries shall have the authority to determine and recommend that the subject matter not be considered as a query if the subject matter is not appropriate for a query as previously defined in this Article.
The Standing Committee on Queries may recommend that the matter be considered as a motion or resolution before the Association; and, unless renewed in the form of a motion or resolution by any delegate of the Church presenting the query, the matter may not be considered. Queries, if deemed appropriate by the Standing Committee on Queries, shall be read during the afternoon of the first day of the Association’s annual meeting and acted upon in general business on the second day of the annual meeting.

Article 6.
6.1 The regular meeting of the Hightower Baptist Association shall occur on the Wednesday and Thursday proceeding the first Sunday of each October. Special meetings of the Association may be called at any time during the calendar year by decision of the Executive Committee. Written notice of special meetings shall be provided at least two weeks prior to any special meeting, except in cases of emergency. Delegates to the special meeting shall be those chosen by the member Churches; otherwise the same delegates serving at the preceding annual meeting of the Hightower Baptist Association may continue to serve. Unless modified by member Churches, delegates shall serve for one-year terms.
6.2 The Association, when convened, shall be governed by a regular and proper decorum, which decorum shall be created and modified in the discretion of a majority of the Association.
6.3 Meetings shall be opened and closed with a prayer. The meetings shall not adjourn until all business or matters regularly brought before the Association are concluded, except in extraordinary cases.
6.4 The Moderator shall be deemed to be the judge of order and decorum. The Moderator shall have the right to call order at any time. It shall be solely the duty of the Moderator to enforce the rules of decorum and order, and to properly conduct the meetings. The Moderator shall have the privilege of consulting with the Parliamentarian at any time during the meetings. The Moderator is charged with enforcing the rules of decorum and the Constitution.
6.5 The Moderator shall have the liberty to speak as any other member or delegate. However, the Moderator, upon exercise of the liberty of speech shall appoint another member to serve as pro tem Moderator while the Moderator speaks. If available, the Assistant Moderator shall serve in this capacity. The Moderator shall resume his duties upon completion of his leave to speak. The Moderator shall not vote unless the vote of the group is equally divided. In such cases, the Moderator shall cast the deciding vote. Unless provided to the contrary herein, all votes of the Association shall be governed by the majority of the Association delegates present. Voting in all cases shall be confined to the body, but corresponding messengers and visiting brethren may aid in council.
6.6 The Hightower Baptist Association is a self-governing body. Meetings shall be conducted such as to afford orderly presentation of motions and business of the body, at all times evidencing a Christian atmosphere of respect and fairness. The Moderator and Parliamentarian shall have the privilege of consulting Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, if necessary.
6.7 Any member of the assembly may appeal the decision of the Moderator regarding a point of order. However, this appeal shall take place at the time the decision is made and at no other time.
6.8 The Moderator shall appoint all committees except for the Standing Committees. The Moderator shall appoint Chairmen of any committee if the committee chair is absent. Chairmen so appointed shall be appointed from the ranks of the existing committee, if possible.
6.9 All items of business before the Association shall be presented by a motion and second in the general business session of the Association.
6.10 The Moderator shall clearly identify the delegate given leave to speak to the assembly. Only one delegate may speak at any time. Unless physically unable to do so, the delegate shall at all times stand when addressing the assembly or the Moderator. No delegate shall be interrupted while speaking, except by the Moderator, or for cause, such as departing from the subject matter under consideration, exceeding any imposed time limit for debate or speech, use of words of personal reflection or of offense to the body or the doctrine and principles of the Association. No member shall indulge in any practice that may have a tendency to interrupt in time of public speech or would dishonor the Association.
6.11 Any motion made and seconded comes under consideration of the Association unless it is withdrawn. Any motion pending before the Association shall be disposed of prior to another motion being proposed.
6.12 After debate, the Moderator shall restate any motion pending before the body of the assembly and call for a vote. Unless a decision is called for by the body of the assembly, votes shall be oral by method of yea or nay. Decisions of the body of the assembly may be conducted by rising vote for either the affirmative or negative. In extraordinary cases, a secret ballot may be conducted. Secret ballots require majority approval of the body of the assembly.
6.13 No member of the Association shall depart the service of the Association without leave of the Moderator. Anyone absenting himself shall be reported in the minutes as absent without leave. Absences for health or emergency matters are granted without necessity of approval.
6.14 The appellation of “brother,” “sister”, “brethren” or “sisters” shall be used in addressing each other.
6.15 Committee reports shall be typed and read before the body. Written committee reports shall be submitted to the Clerk not later than the opening of the second day of the Association meeting. Any committee needing assistance with typing may consult with the Parliamentarian or the Clerk. Written committee reports shall be deemed as accepted by the body without further motion, unless objected to by a majority of the body. Committee chairmen, or their delegates, shall read the written report before the body at the time so allotted. One member of the committee may speak before the body concerning the report, unless leave is obtained for other committee members to speak Leave may be granted in the sole discretion of the Moderator, but shall be freely granted. It is not required that other committee members speak before the body. Committee reports may be discussed after presentation, but are received as read without motion or second.
6.16 Alternate speakers, including those delivering sermons, are just that and shall not be required to speak before the body unless the alternate feels led to do so, or if the primary speaker is not available, or with leave of the Moderator or the body.
6.17 The time limit for Committee chairman reports is 15 minutes. All other speakers, including visitors are limited to 10 minutes each. The above listed time limits include the time for reading reports. The Association has traditionally allowed visiting Messengers to speak before the body. Upon consent of the Moderator, such visitors shall be allowed to speak before the body without a motion for a period not to exceed 10 minutes.
6.18 Collections from the assembly for the organizations supported by the Association, or for other matters selected by the Association, shall be restricted to one occasion per day while the Association is in session. Collections shall be conducted prior to adjournment for the noon meal on each day. These general collections shall be equally divided among all supported organizations or charities. Provided however, the Treasurer shall make accommodations for those who desire to make specific gifts to supported organizations or charities. The Treasurer shall supervise all collection procedures.

Article 7.
7.1 The Hightower Baptist Association shall maintain four districts. These districts may be realigned by the Association upon request and motion to the body or upon recommendation by the Executive Committee. Realignment of any district shall be determined considering the number of Churches in a district.
7.2 The location of the Association meetings shall be conducted through the Union Meetings. The meetings shall rotate sequentially between the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Districts of the Association. Any Church desiring to host the Association meeting should submit a request or invitation, one year in advance. This invitation shall be submitted through the Union meeting which shall have approved same. Hosts of Union meetings shall be selected one year in advance at the convention of the Union Meeting.
7.3 The conduct of Union meetings shall be subject to the same rules, terms and conditions affecting the Association, when appropriate. In most cases, the officers of the Union Meeting shall be the Pastor of the Church hosting the Union Meeting serving as Moderator, and the Clerk of the host Church serving as Clerk of the Union Meeting. The Clerk of the Union Meeting shall keep a record of the proceedings. The Clerk of the Union meeting shall furnish to the Clerk of the Association the meeting site of the next Union Meeting for the appropriate district and for the next Association Meeting, if hosted by the reporting district. Each district shall maintain a depository of the minutes of each Union Meeting and shall annually report the location of said minutes to the Clerk of the Association. The various Clerks of the Union Meetings shall cooperate with each other to transmit the previous minutes to the depository designated by the Union Meeting.
Article 8.
8.1 The Clerk of the Association shall keep a regular record of the proceedings of the Association. The Moderator may appoint assistants at the request of the Clerk. These assistants shall aid and assist the Clerk and Assistant Clerk. The minutes of the Association shall be read and approved before the body adjourns, signed by the Moderator and attested by the Clerk. If the minutes of the Association are so voluminous as to be difficult or excessively time consuming to transcribe at the conclusion of the Association meeting, the Clerk may request the minutes be deferred until publication of the Association minutes; which published minutes shall be approved by the Association at the next annual meeting.
8.2 The Association shall furnish the Churches with the minutes of its’ proceedings. It shall be the duty of the Churches to support the Association financially and to pay for the printing and assist in disseminating the minutes.
8.3 Each Church having an ordained or licensed minister shall report same to the Association for publication in the minutes of the Association. All inquiries or reports required by the Clerk or the Association shall promptly be provided by the member Churches, specifically including the lists of deceased members. Any Church failing to submit required reports shall be subject to discipline in the discretion of the Association. In extreme cases, discipline may include withdrawal of fellowship with the Association.

Article 9.
9.1 Amendments to the form of government may be made only upon presentation of the amendments to the full body of the Association in written form. Amendments may be adopted at any time during the second day of the meeting of the Association. Amendments to the form of government of the Association shall be submitted to the assembly on the first day of the annual meeting.
9.2 In the event that exigent circumstances exist that affect the ability to properly conduct a meeting of the Association, or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the Association, the body, upon special motion, may provide for amendment to the form of government at any time during a meeting of the Association. If a special motion is made, approval of the special motion to consider immediate amendment to the form of government of the Association must occur by two-thirds majority. The vote upon the amendment to the form of government shall only require majority approval.

Article 10.
10.1 Any church failing to be represented by letter or delegate for a period of two consecutive years shall be notified by the Clerk of the Association that such Church is to be suspended from the list of member Churches of the Association at the next annual session of the Association. Upon report by the Clerk at the next meeting of the Association, the unrepresented Church shall be suspended from the list of Churches of the Association. Any such Church so suspended shall be freely readmitted to membership upon petition by such Church and motion and approval by a majority of the body.

Article 11.
11.1 No person or entity is authorized to mail or disseminate information in the name of the Hightower Baptist Association or call meetings in the name of the Association without approval by a majority of the body of the Association. If the Association is not convened, and in the case of exigent circumstances deemed beneficial to the body of the Association, the Executive Committee, upon unanimous approval of said committee, may authorize the mailing or dissemination of information. Such approval shall be promptly reported to the full convention of the Association at the next meeting.

Article 12.
12.1 The Standing Committees of the Association are as follows:
1. Executive Committee
2. Nominating Committee
3. Query Committee
4. Evangelism and Church Growth Committee
5. Sunday school Committee
6. Convention Causes Committee
(a) Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, Inc
(b) Georgia Baptist Medical Center
(c) Georgia Baptist Village
(d) Christian Index
(e) Cooperative Program
7. Moral Issues Committee
8. Brotherhood Committee
9. Discipleship Training Committee
10. Women’s Missionary Union Committee
11. Deceased Members Committee
12. Finance Committee
13. North Central Area Missions
(a) Director of Missions
(b) Education Consultant
(c) Church Starter Consultant
14. Vacation Bible School Committee
15. Music Committee
16. Hightower Association History Committee
17. Benevolence and Disaster Relief Committee
18 Youth Ministries Committee
19. Senior Adult Ministries Committee

Formation of Committees
12.2 The Nominating Committee shall be formed by the existing Nominating Committee appointing a Chairman of the Nominating Committee for a one-year term. The existing Executive Committee shall appoint two members to the Nominating Committee. Thus formed, the Nominating Committee shall undertake the following:
12.3 The Nominating Committee shall appoint the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of a Chairman appointed by the Nominating Committee and two members from each district of the Association. Terms of office for Executive Committee members shall be two years in duration. Provided however, the initial term beginning in 1994 for one member of the Executive Committee from each district shall be for one year only such as to provide a staggering of terms of office for Executive Committee members. As a result, one-half of the Executive Committee will have one year’s experience at all future dates. For the year 1994, the Nominating Committee shall inform the chosen members as to whether they serve a one-year term or a two-year term. The Chairman of the Executive Committee may serve no more than two successive years. Ex Officio members of the Executive Committee shall be the officers of the Association including the Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Treasurer, Clerk, Assistant Clerk and Chief Parliamentarian. Ex Officio members of the Executive Committee shall endeavor to attend all Executive Committee meetings and assist the members of the Executive Committee in their deliberations and planing.
12.4 The Nominating Committee shall appoint standing Committee Chairmen to serve for the one year term succeeding the annual Association meeting. The Chairman of each committee shall be ineligible to succeed himself for a period of one year after having served for a maximum term of two years. The Executive Committee shall appoint all other committee members for the standing committees. In the event that a committee chairman is absent, the Moderator shall appoint a committee chairman to serve during the annual meeting. Any such appointee shall, if possible, be appointed from the ranks of the committee members. The Nominating Committee shall also appoint Assistant Chairmen for the Teaching the Word (Sunday school) Committee and Vacation Bible School Committee. The Treasurer shall automatically be a member of the Finance Committee.
12.5 Additional duties of the Nominating Committee are as follows:
(a) Provide a home for the annual Association meeting.
(b) Appoint the Preacher for the Introductory Sermon and an alternate.
(c) Appoint the Preacher for the Missionary Sermon and an alternate.
The Nominating Committee shall select ministers with membership within a Church within the Association, or serving churches within the Association to preach all sermons before the Association. Ministers having membership outside the Association, but serving within the Association shall have full privilege to preach sermons or serve on any committee.

Duties of Committees and Appointment of Special Committees
12.6 All committees shall serve for a one-year terms, except for Executive Committee members that serve for two year terms, beginning at the conclusion of the annual Association Meeting and ending at the conclusion of the next annual meeting. The Executive Committee shall be charged with attending to the Association business when the Association is not in session.
All standing committees shall endeavor to convene when the Association is not in session at least once during the year. (However, it is acknowledged that certain committees, such as the Query Committee, function primarily while the Association is in session and meetings during the year, while recommended, are not mandatory.) The Chairman of each committee shall be charged with arranging such meetings and moderating same. Committee meetings, although less formal, shall be subject to the rules of decorum set forth herein.
12.7 The Moderator of the Association shall have the authority to appoint special committees on subject matters or doctrinal matters that are of concern to the Association.
The Moderator shall appoint the representative of the Hightower Baptist Association to the Georgia Baptist Convention for a term of office of 5 years. In the event that said representative resigns or is unable to serve said term due to death, incapacity or otherwise, the Moderator shall appoint someone to complete the 5-year term.
12.8 In order to enact the changes to the Constitution, Rules and Bylaws of the Association, and with the exception of the Executive Committee members chosen and serving for a two year term ending in 1996, the Officers, Chairmen and Committee members chosen in the 1994 Association meeting pursuant to the procedures set forth above shall serve through the conclusion of the 1995 meeting of the Association.

Article 13.
13.1 The Officers of the Association shall be the Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Chief
Parliamentarian Treasurer and the Executive Committee. Method of election, term of office and duties have been defined herein. Any officer who abandons his duties or by his actions adversely affects the function of the Association may be removed by two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee while the Association is not in session or by majority vote when the Association is in session. When the Association is not in session, the Executive Committee, upon majority approval, shall select replacements to serve unexpired terms. The Association, when in session, can select or replace any officer upon majority vote.

Article 14.
14.1 The Nominating Committee shall annually select a Chief Parliamentarian to serve from the conclusion of the annual Association meeting until the conclusion of the next annual Association meeting. The Chief Parliamentarian shall be charged with assisting the Moderator or Assistant Moderator in ruling on matters of decorum or procedure in the annual Association meeting, or in any committee or Union Meeting occurring during the time the Association is not in session. The Chief Parliamentarian shall serve at the discretion of the Association, or until resignation Assistant Parliamentarians representing each district shall be selected by the Chief Parliamentarian, which selection shall be communicated to the Clerk of the Association who will communicate the district’s Assistant Parliamentarian name to the host Church of the Union Meeting. Assistant Parliamentarians shall attend and serve their respective Union Meetings as Parliamentarian. Assistant Parliamentarians shall be present at the annual meetings of the Association and may undertake the duties of the Chief Parliamentarian when so delegated. The Parliamentarian and Assistant Parliamentarians shall be seated as delegates. Assistant Parliamentarians will make efforts to assist the Chief Parliamentarian during the annual meetings of the Association and shall attend said meetings for training and experience.

Article 15.
15.1 Unless a Constitutional Rule or Bylaw is set forth herein, such Rule or Bylaw shall have no further binding influence or effect upon the Association All previous provisions, rules, traditions, or bylaws are hereby expressly rescinded upon enactment of this document.
15.2 Changes to the Constitution, Rules or Bylaws shall be reflected as an addendum to this document indicating the year of passage. Any changes shall be merged into the Constitution, Rules and Bylaws at a frequency of not less than each five-year period. The Chief Parliamentarian shall have the responsibility to insure the correctness of any changes and the entry into the minutes of such changes. The Chief Parliamentarian shall additionally insure that addenda are properly prepared and shall undertake the merging of changes into the Constitution, Rules and Bylaws as required in Paragraph 15.1