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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

The Pastor-Church Relationship—The Contract

Volume 1 . Chapter 2 . § 2-02
Key point 2-02. The relationship between a minister and church is contractual in nature. The contract may be expressed in a signed document, or it may be implied. Either way, there are important legal consequences resulting from the contract.

1. General Considerations

The relationship between a minister and church is based on contract. One court observed that "one becomes pastor of a church pursuant to a contract, made with the person or body having the authority to employ." another court noted that "just as a church can contract with persons outside the church membership, it can contract with its own pastor." Often, a contract of employment will be implied between a church and its minister if no written agreement was signed. As one court observed, ...

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