Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Distinctions Between the Terms Pastor, Clergy, Minister

Volume 1 . Chapter 1 . § 1-01
Key point 1-01. The terms pastor, clergy, and minister are used in a number of state and federal laws. Most courts construe these terms broadly, and disregard any distinctions among them. A few courts have construed these terms more narrowly, and attempt to distinguish them.

The terms pastor, clergy, and minister often are used interchangeably. Such usage is perfectly appropriate in most instances. Occasionally, however, it is important to distinguish among these terms, since many state and federal laws refer to only one or some of them. For example, the Military Selective Service Act provides that regular or duly ordained ministers of religion shall be exempt from training and service.1 Whether a representative of an organized religion may ...

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.



Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

Benevolence Fund Basics

Benevolence Fund Basics Subscriber access only

Help your church develop a tax-compliant benevolence ministry.
Managing Church Facility Use

Managing Church Facility Use  Subscriber access only

Find insights to equip your church to host members and strangers.