Key point 7-20.1. In most states, whether a church is liable for injuries occurring on its premises will depend on whether the victim is an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Churches, like any property owner, owe the highest degree of care to invitees, a lesser degree of care to licensees, and a very minimal degree of care to trespassers. As a result, it is more likely that churches will be liable for injuries to persons who meet the definition of an "invitee."
A Michigan court ruled that a church was not responsible for injuries sustained by a member of its board of trustees when he fell from a ladder while performing volunteer service for the church. A church member (the "plaintiff") also served as a volunteer on the church's board of trustees, a group of individuals who volunteered to perform various repairs and maintenance on the church premises. The plaintiff never received or expected any payment or compensation for the work he performed for the church.