Church Embezzlement Statistics • Mobile Medical Outreach • Property Dispute: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Church Embezzlement Statistics • Mobile Medical Outreach • Property Dispute: News Roundup

Research Shows 10 Percent of Churches Have Suffered Embezzlement. “Churches and other faith groups collect tens of billions of donations each year. Chances are some of the money goes missing. About 1 in 10 Protestant churches has had someone embezzle funds, according to a new survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. That figure isn’t surprising, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. Most churches rely on volunteers to handle their finances, he said. Those volunteers are usually honest. But churches often lack systems to catch those who aren’t. As a result, he said, money that could have been used for ministry goes missing” (“LifeWay Research: 1 in 10 Churches Has Had Funds Stolen,” LifeWay Research).

Our sister publication Christianity Today has also highlighted this research. Learn more about protecting against embezzlement at your church with this downloadable resource.

California Church Provides Mobile Medical Services. “The Father’s House church of Napa has been providing free food and books, plus trash and graffiti clean-up, in five city neighborhoods. Now, add health care to the list. On June 24, the church launched a mobile medical clinic service in Napa. Every Saturday, from 10:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M., a 30-foot RV stops at one of the five neighborhoods and offers wellness checks, blood pressure screenings, blood sugar checks, diabetes education, medical supplies and equipment, and other services—all for free. Using the mobile clinic, clients have an opportunity to discuss their health questions with nurses and receive printed materials and information about local clinics. Volunteers, including registered nurses, run the two-hour clinic. . . . The mobile vans are self-funded by church members or other donations. That includes $10,000 spent to retrofit the RV. Many items and supplies are donated. . . . Because the clinic is only doing basic health care assessments and not selling anything, there is no need for a particular permit or license, said Napa Police Chief Police Steve Potter. Parking ordinances for the RV do still apply, he noted” (“Napa church launches mobile medical clinic,” Napa Valley Register).

Read these six tips on building a safe outreach ministry.

Church Property Dispute Case Back to Trial Court over Congregational/Hierarchical Question. “In Slagle v. Church of the First Born of Tennessee . . . a case involving a dispute over control of church property after a split among church members, a Tennessee appellate court remanded the case to the trial court for a determination of whether the church was congregational or hierarchical. . . . The court noted that here the relevant question is whether the church is congregational for purposes of ownership and control of property” (“Case Remanded for Determination of Whether Church Is Hierarchical,” Religion Clause).

For more on the difference between hierarchical and congregational churches, check out our Legal Library.

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Emily Lund is Assistant Editor for Church Law & Tax.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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