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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Instructional Aids

Volume 1 . Chapter 1

Key Terms


duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister


licensed minister



ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister



service performed in the exercise of ministry

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the legal difference between the terms pastor, clergyman, and minister.
  • Explain why it is important to define the terms pastor, clergyman, and minister.
  • Name several statutes that use the terms pastor, clergyman, or minister.
  • Explain how the civil courts determine the definition of a "minister" when a church's definition differs from the definition in a statute.
  • Define the terms employee and self-employed; recognize the legal differences between these terms; and determine whether a minister is an employee or self-employed in several contexts including income tax and Social Security reporting.

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