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The 10 Commandments of Church Management
Apply these principles to stay legal and keep your witness intact.
The 10 Commandments of Church Management
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I. Thou shalt not allow the church's intellectual property to be used for personal purposes.

Rule: Under the work for hire doctrine, any property developed within the scope of the job duties of an employee is the property of the employer.

Practice Tip: An intellectual property ...
Tackling Potential Legal Issues in the Church
A national conference offers a balance of professional expertise and spiritual fellowship for Christian leaders.
Tackling Potential Legal Issues in the Church
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As the current president of the Christian Legal Society (CLS), Attorney Sally Wagenmaker is well-acquainted with myriad potential legal issues facing the church today. With this in mind, she led efforts to add a “Pastors’ Forum” to the CLS national conference ...

Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever
Churches can no longer fly under the radar, explains attorney Erika Cole.
Why "Legal" Matters More Than Ever
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Attorney Erika Cole (pictured above) developed the Church Compliance Conference in 2007 to serve churches and pastors who face legal and tax concerns.Editor Matthew Branaugh recently talked to Cole, who serves as an editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax, about legal struggles ...

Could Your Church Face an ADA Noncompliance Lawsuit for Its Website or App?
What to know about this rising trend in litigation.
Could Your Church Face an ADA Noncompliance Lawsuit for Its Website or App?
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Our webhost recently brought to my attention a trend in lawsuits targeting websites and apps for their failures to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Could your church or ministry face such a claim? I have good news—read on!

A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
A Ruling with Three Lessons on Embezzlement
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A New York appeals court recently affirmed a trial court ruling that “a pastor who embezzled a substantial amount of church funds” had to make restitution for those funds, said attorney and CPA Richard R. Hammar in “Pastor Who Embezzled Must Make Restitution.” ...

Court Dismisses Pregnancy-Related Lawsuit Brought Against Church
Judge says the facts of the case demonstrate firing was based on religious doctrine.
Court Dismisses Pregnancy-Related Lawsuit Brought Against Church
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The News

A federal judge late last month dismissed a lawsuit that was brought against an Alabama church after it fired a pregnant woman who worked as a custodian in the church’s daycare.

In the lawsuit and related testimony, the woman contended she was fired because she ...

Sorting Out Immigration Law for Churches
Navigating the volatile, unpredictable nature of this legal hot topic.
Sorting Out Immigration Law for Churches
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The news: Illegal immigration, immigration reform, and border security remain flash points in America. Last year brought increased enforcements by the government, including growing numbers of Form I-9 audits and unannounced site visits with employers as well as added scrutiny ...

District of Columbia Changes Course on Church Water Rate
District of Columbia Changes Course on Church Water Rate
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“D.C. officials have backed away from a proposal that would have made it easier for churches to qualify for a break on their water rates than other nonprofits, after critics said the policy could have been unconstitutional. The city is instead moving forward with a plan ...

Church Volunteer Caught on Video Abusing Child
Church Volunteer Caught on Video Abusing Child
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Police with the North Charleston (SC) Police Department said that in November Jacop Hazlett, a volunteer daycare provider for New Spring Church, “escorted” a 3-year-old boy into the bathroom during a Sunday service, took photographs of the child, and sexually abused ...

The Ever-Increasing Need for Cyber Insurance
The Ever-Increasing Need for Cyber Insurance
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While focused on American businesses, this item from The Kiplinger Letter offers some insights about inadequate cyber insurance coverage that can also apply to churches:

The rise in cyberattacks is upping demand for insurance, yet many US firms don’t have policies covering ...
When the Church Office Closes for Bad Weather, Does Everyone Get Paid?
The legal—and logical—considerations regarding how to handle an office closure.
When the Church Office Closes for Bad Weather, Does Everyone Get Paid?
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Winter weather advisory: snow, gusty winds, ice, and bitter cold are hitting much of our nation, with the Polar Vortex bringing wind chills of 50 below or worse this week in parts of the Midwest.

How should churches address inclement weather issues for their employees? And are ...

Churches: Note Time-Off Requirements for the Election
Check your state’s statute addressing what employers must provide.
Churches: Note Time-Off Requirements for the Election
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Election Day is upon us—and churches as employers need to note their potential legal obligations to give employees time off to vote.

As Kiplinger Letter recently noted, 29 states keep laws on the books that require employers to accommodate voting time of between one and ...

Are You Texting Employees on the Road?
Your church may be liable if an accident happens.
Are You Texting Employees on the Road?
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The mere act of sending a text to another person does not create liability, even if the texter knows that the recipient is operating a motor vehicle. People often receive text messages while driving a vehicle, and choose not to read or respond to them. Texter liability arises ...

Supreme Court Sides with Christian Baker in Major Religious Freedom Case
SCOTUS cites violation of baker’s First Amendment rights in ruling.
Supreme Court Sides with Christian Baker in Major Religious Freedom Case
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It’s considered to be the “biggest religious liberty case of the year”—and this morning, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, the owner of Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop, who had refused (on religious grounds) to make a gay couple’s ...

What’s the Status of the Clergy Housing Allowance?
Updates on court timelines, the appeal, and more.
What’s the Status of the Clergy Housing Allowance?
Image: Alexander Andrews / Unsplash

The ministerial housing allowance is “the most important tax benefit available to ministers”—but since October 2017, that benefit has faced an uncertain future.

A refresher: On October 6, Judge Barbara Crabb of the District Court for the Western District of ...

When Churches Are Liable for Hostile Work Environments
What churches can learn from a recent sexual harassment case.
When Churches Are Liable for Hostile Work Environments
Image: Breather / Unsplash

This case study originally appeared in “Creating Sexual Harassment Policies for Church Workplaces,” a feature article in the March/April 2018 issue of Church Law & Tax Report.

A federal district court in Oklahoma ruled that a church could be sued on the basis ...

When Volunteers Drive for Your Church
Tips for handling this critical area of risk-management.
When Volunteers Drive for Your Church
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To help churches better understand some of the issues involved with volunteer drivers, ManagingYourChurch.com talked to Frank Sommerville. He is an attorney and editorial advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com.

What should you know before allowing volunteers to drive on behalf of the ...

Why Taking Minutes Is a “Must”
Here are 4 reasons to take thorough, accurate minutes at your meetings.
Why Taking Minutes Is a “Must”
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Taking minutes arguably tops the list of “most thankless jobs,” and those who assume the role often wish they hadn’t been such a willing volunteer. But accurate minutes are a parliamentary procedure “must” for all nonprofits—including homeowners’ ...

The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2017
Immigration law, hurricane response, the housing allowance: what readers kept clicking on this year.
The Top 10 Church Management Articles of 2017
Image: Kelly Jean / Unsplash

This past year’s most popular articles on ManagingYourChuch.com show the wide variety of financial, legal, safety, and tax matters that church leaders face. This list is based on unique page views in 2017 of articles published throughout the year.

10.“9 Tips for Planning ...

9 Steps Employers Should Take to Comply with the ADA
What churches should be aware of as they hire and train staff members.
9 Steps Employers Should Take to Comply with the ADA
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  1. Prepare job descriptions for all employees. Be sure to itemize essential job functions. These are functions that are job related and required by business necessity. Do not list functions that will not be required in performing the job in question.
  2. Review job application forms and eliminate any question that segregates or classifies applicants on the basis of disability.

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Essential Guide to Youth Ministry Safety

Essential Guide to Youth Ministry Safety Member access only

Help youth ministers safely and appropriately conduct student ministry with this resource.
Record Keeping

Record Keeping  Member access only

Learn best practices for protecting confidential documents.