Authority to Control Church Bank Accounts
Changes must follow procedural requirements.

First Born Church of the Living God v. Bank South, 472 S.E.2d 469 (Ga. App. 1996).

Background. Is a bank required to honor a change in signature authority on church accounts if the change failed to comply with the church's constitution? That was the issue facing a Georgia court in a recent case. A church's bank accounts stated that all checks and withdrawals had to be approved by the senior pastor. A dispute arose in the church, and the congregation was divided over the issue of whether or not to retain their pastor. The church board held an "emergency meeting" at which it removed the pastor and replaced him with another pastor. The board also amended its bank accounts to require that all checks and withdrawals be approved by the new pastor. The former pastor claimed that the board's actions were invalid because they violated the church constitution. The constitution required that the senior pastor approve any actions adopted by the board. The former pastor claimed that he had not been asked to approve the board's attempt to change the church bank accounts, and therefore the board's action was legally invalid. The bank asked a court to determine who controlled the church's accounts.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: November 1, 1997
View All
from our store
Church Governance

Church Governance

What leaders must know to conduct legally sound church business.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

State by state laws to report child abuse.
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Richard Hammar reviews public accommodations laws.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.