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Can Banks Ask Churches for Donor Records?
When members struggle financially, financial institutions may come knocking.

A national bank recently subpoenaed an Iowa church's financial records, seeking information about donations made by a man whose business defaulted on a $650,000 loan.

The financial institution wants to know about cash and property given to the church by the man and his wife ...

New Crib Regulations Affect Churches
What ministries should note about changing federal rules.

New federal regulations for cribs could lead to substantial penalties and civil lawsuits that may implicate not only your church, but also your church board. It's important your church understands these new regulations and follows them closely to avoid creating a liability ...

Religious Employment Under High Court's Focus This Week
No review of World Vision case; 'ministerial exception' consideration next.

Editor's Note:The Christianity Today Liveblog, a sister site to ManagingYourChurch.com, covered Monday's important religious employment case development at the U.S. Supreme Court, and briefly previewed Wednesday's Supreme Court review of the ministerial exception. Both will ...

Endorsing Candidates from the Pulpit
"Pulpit Freedom Sunday" raises questions as Election Day draws near.

This past Sunday, the Alliance Defense Fund expected nearly 500 church pastors nationwide to participate in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." The event, organized for four consecutive years by ADF, is designed to challenge a 1954 amendment to the

501( c) 3 tax code that ...

Who Owns a Pastor's Sermons?
Most clergy are shocked when they learn the answer.

Most clergy would be shocked to learn that their sermons are works made for hire that are owned by their employing church, and that their sermons cannot be used in any other churches with which they are later employed without the permission of the church with which they were ...

A New Look for the Managing Your Church Blog
Helping keep churches safe, legal, and financially sound.

Welcome to the Managing Your Church blog—we're glad you stopped by.

If you came looking for TheYourChurchBlog.com, you're still at the right place. We've made a few changes, though, as you probably already can tell. We've slightly adjusted our name to better reflect the nature ...

Social Media Background Checks
Clever tool or legal minefield?

Editor's note: Mike McCarty is an "Ask the Expert" on our sister site ChurchSafety.com and the founder and CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions, a professional provider of background checks for churches, nonprofits, and other organizations and individuals. Recently Mike posted an article ...

Churches: Get Your I-9s in Order!
Feds cracking down on employers' immigration records

If an immigration agent came to your church, would you have the paperwork on hand to verify that all of your employees are eligible to work?

More and more employers are discovering the answer to this question the hard way. According to a July issue of The Kiplingler Letter, ...

    *providing domestic services in a private household that are sporadic, irregular, or intermittent;

    *providing services for the employer as an independent contractor (i.e. carry on independent business, contract to do a piece of work according to their own means and methods and are subject to control only as to results for whom the employer does not set work hours or provide necessary tools to do the job, or whom the employer does not have authority to hire and fire); and

    *providing services for the employer, under a contract, subcontract, or exchange entered into after November 6, 1986. (In such cases, the contractor is the employer for I-9 purposes; for example, a temporary employment agency.)

'Most Significant Religious Case in 20 Years'
The 'ministerial exception' rule faces its day with Supreme Court.

A news article from the July edition ofChristianity Today covers the U.S. Supreme Court's April decision to accept a teacher's appeal regarding an unfair firing claim against a Michigan elementary school run by a church.

At stake: How far a rule known as "ministerial exception" ...

Group Drops Case Against Pastor Housing Allowances
But battles loom as more challenges are promised.

A constitutional challenge to the tax-free housing allowances and parsonages provided to thousands of American pastors is over after the plaintiffs who filed the original lawsuit voluntarily requested its dismissal Friday in a California district court.

But the battle is far ...

How to Manage Risk at Church
Four steps to develop a risk management plan

David Middlebrook, editorial advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com and ChurchSafety.com's "Ask the Expert," has developed an easy way to understand and develop a risk management plan. Each letter of the word "risk" stands for a step in the process:

R – Rate Your Risk

Do you intentionally ...

Churches Forced to Stop Building Use Over Zoning Issue

At least five churches in a business park in Georgia are being prevented from holding services there after a fire marshal's routine inspection found that each church did not have a certificate of occupancy, according to a local newspaper and channel. Further troubling ...

Bill Maher: Should Churches be Taxed?

A little more than a year ago, Bill Maher hosted actor Ashton Kutcher, author and editor Jon Meacham, and Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on his HBO program, Real Time. A YouTube clip from the program circulated recently throughout social media circles.

Church leaders ...

Church Bus Driver Arrested on Sex Abuse Charge
A reminder of what leaders can do to help prevent headlines like these.

A church bus driver in southern Illinois was arrested and charged last week with sexually abusing a child.

According to the local newspaper, "the arrest came after a Wayne County Grand Jury returned an indictment against him." The driver, 33, was charged with aggravated criminal ...

Supreme Court Tackles 'Ministerial Exception'
High court will examine rule's scope.

Courts have generally recognized a rule known as the "ministerial exception" when it comes to employment lawsuits in churches. Because of the First Amendment, many judges have considered it inappropriate to rule in these disputes, especially when their rulings may ...

Should Churches Avoid Discipline for Legal Fears?
Ken Sande explains how to confront a member's sin.

The March/April issue of Catalyst Leadership focuses on the topic of "Crisis," and features an interview with Ken Sande, president of Peacemaker Ministries. Ken is also an editorial advisor for Christianity Today International's Church Management Team. The interviewer asks Ken ...

Illegal Immigrants in the Church
Walking a 'fine line between compassion and conformity'

Late last year, we released "Illegal Immigrants in the Church," from Church Law & Tax Report. In it, Richard Hammar and Ann Buwalda, an immigration attorney, review the details on what churches need to know about immigration law as it relates to welcoming undocumented immigrants ...

Can Social Media Get a Church Sued?

Recent incidents involving alleged misuses of social media in both the public and private sectors have government officials and business executives scrambling to implement social media policies for employees.

Church leaders should take the opportunity to do the same before a ...

The Fall-Out from 'Natural Decrease'

Editor's Update (4/26/2011):The Nonprofit Quarterly pointed this morning to a Boston Globe article reporting 40 of the city's largest nonprofits, with property valued at $15 million or more each, have received letters from the city "requesting them to make regular and voluntary ...

Concealed Weapons in Church
Rich Hammar discusses an important Georgia ruling for churches.

In 2010, the state of Georgia enacted a law prohibiting a person with a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon into a place of worship. A lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of the law. Hear what the state's court decided, and Rich Hammar's ...

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Reducing the Risk

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Keep your church safe from child sexual abuse.
Best Practices for Receiving Charitable Contributions

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Practical help and clear understanding on issues surrounding charitable contributions.