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Do Ministers of Small Churches Need to Know Employment Laws?
Why it's worth investing time in learning these.
Do Ministers of Small Churches Need to Know Employment Laws?
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Many young ministers and ministers of new churches ask whether it's worth investing the time learning employment laws applicable to larger, more established churches. The answer is yes.

Our family's home church grew from 1 employee to over 700 in a remarkably short ...

Q&A: Should Churches Monitor the Contraceptive Mandate?
Churches are exempt, but religious liberty concerns for other ministries remain.
Q&A: Should Churches Monitor the Contraceptive Mandate?
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Should churches care what develops regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, even though churches are exempt from this mandate?

Yes. There will be extensive media coverage again about this in 2016.

The ACA requires employers to offer preventive ...

The Top Church Management Conferences for 2016
Training across the nation to gain knowledge in financial, legal, and risk matters.
The Top Church Management Conferences for 2016
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A number of conferences are available for those who work with legal, financial, and risk management matters for their church. Here are some we recommend:

1. 2016 XP-Seminar

This event, led by XPastor.org founder David Fletcher, educates and encourages executive pastors, ...

Do Your Staff and Volunteers Use Cell Phones while Driving on Church Business?
A new study shows more distractions exist behind the wheel, including voice commands to dial.
Do Your Staff and Volunteers Use Cell Phones while Driving on Church Business?
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Voice commands in cars aren't as safe as people may think. New research by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that "potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music, or sending a text using voice commands" ...

When a Child Complained about a Volunteer's Physical Affection
My leadership team faced a difficult decision.
When a Child Complained about a Volunteer's Physical Affection
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It was the last thing any church leader wants to hear at the end of a long, sweaty week of VBS. A mother, visibly upset, approached the pastor of our small church to report that an adult volunteer had once again hugged her 10-year-old daughter without permission.

The mother ...

Do Churches Practice Age Discrimination in Hiring?
Six general trends I've seen.
Do Churches Practice Age Discrimination in Hiring?
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It’s a simple question with profound implications. Do churches seek to hire pastors and/or staff who fall within a tightly defined age range?

Please understand that this article is about general trends. There are certainly many exceptions to each point I make. But ...

ANNOUNCEMENT—Microsoft Resolves Office 365 Charity Licensing Issue for Churches
The restrictions related to nonprofits receiving a discount have changed.
ANNOUNCEMENT—Microsoft Resolves Office 365 Charity Licensing Issue for Churches
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Many Christian churches and ministries have been uncomfortable with the Microsoft charity program for Office 365 because it requires them to certify they don’t discriminate in their employment practices regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. ...

After the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, What Legal Rights Do Pastors, Churches Have?
Understanding the officiating of ceremonies and the use of buildings for weddings.
After the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, What Legal Rights Do Pastors, Churches Have?
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In late June, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, and many pastors are wondering what this means for their work and their church. Richard R. Hammar, a well-known attorney specializing in legal issues for churches, helps clear the ...

When Carpeting Is Risky
Churches can be legally responsible for injuries suffered from falls due to carpeting, throw rugs, and runners.
When Carpeting Is Risky
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Carpeting can cause slips and falls in a number of ways. Throw rugs on a wood or tile floor often slide unless they are positioned on a nonskid mat. Carpeting can curl around the edges and not lie flat on the floor. As a result, people can catch their shoes on the edge and ...

What I Learned About the Church's Legal and Financial Responsibilities
Five areas that you may not be aware are putting your church at risk
What I Learned About the Church's Legal and Financial Responsibilities
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I joined the Church Law & Tax Team of Christianity Today about a year ago. During my time on the team, my eyes were really opened to areas of church responsibility that I was pretty oblivious to before my time here. With that in mind, I wanted to share some areas of concern ...

Deciding If an Employee Needs to Go
It's not easy, but sometimes this important decision needs to be made.
Deciding If an Employee Needs to Go
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One of the hardest decisions a church leader makes is to release someone from employment. I’ve only known a few very callous people who weren’t extremely burdened by having to fire someone. Making this kind of employment decision comes with the sobering reality ...

The ACA Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee
Some self-insured health plans are required to pay by July 31.
The ACA Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee
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With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some issuers of specified health insurance policies and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans are required to pay a fee that helps fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The fee is ...

4 Questions from the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling
Sorting fact from fiction for church leaders after last month's historic decision.
4 Questions from the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling
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In a 5-4 ruling on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the right of same-sex couples to marry is part of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws, and therefore any state law that in any way limits this ...

Does Your Church Use a Credit Card Reader?
New legal requirements for this start on October 1.
Does Your Church Use a Credit Card Reader?
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[New credit cards that help prevent fraud] require new devices to read them, and [churches that] process transactions will need to be trained on the new procedures. Instead of swiping the magnetic strip, the card will be “dipped” into the device, which can read ...

Court’s Marriage Ruling Creates Uncertainty for Churches, Clergy
Ruling lacks an explicit religious exemption, opening door for future challenges, experts say.
Court’s Marriage Ruling Creates Uncertainty for Churches, Clergy
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Today’s historic 5-4 Supreme Court decision creates a federally recognized right for same-sex couples to marry. But what it means for churches and clergy who oppose such unions remains unclear, two legal experts said.

Such uncertainty likely will lead to more litigation, ...

What Churches and Clergy Should Note from the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, and what it means for religious liberty.
What Churches and Clergy Should Note from the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
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The Supreme Court of the United States ruled this morning that marriage between same-sex couples is a constitutional right, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States.

Christianity Today notes that the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, sought ...

What Are Church Bylaws?
One of the most important documents for churches
What Are Church Bylaws?
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Most churches, whether incorporated or unincorporated, have a governing document that addresses several issues of governance and administration. While the name for this document varies from church to church, it often is called bylaws.

The Model Nonprofit Corporations Act ...

Q&A: Is Health Insurance Required by Law for Our Church Employees?
Richard Hammar's analysis of the Affordable Care Act sheds light on this issue.
Q&A: Is Health Insurance Required by Law for Our Church Employees?
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The following is a recent question emailed to Church Law & Tax from a reader. If you’d like to pose your own question, you can email us here.

The Duggar Abuse Case: A Lesson for Churches
What churches can learn about the need to report abuse—and the consequences of failing to do so.
The Duggar Abuse Case: A Lesson for Churches
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Josh Duggar, the son of the Duggar family who together star in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting TV show, has confessed to sexually abusing several minor females when he was a teenager. Timothy C. Morgan’s coverage of this story in Christianity Today gives more details. ...

Reporting Child Abuse
What church employees should know about reporting child abuse
Reporting Child Abuse
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Church employees often do not know how to report abuse. Many believe that they can discharge their duty to report child abuse by informing the senior pastor. In most states, while staff members are free to inform the pastor of known or suspected incidents of child abuse, ...

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