A minister can engage in property transactions on behalf of a church only if authorized to do so. Authority may be expressly granted in the church's charter or bylaws, but more frequently a church's board of directors or members vote to authorize the minister to represent the church in a specific transaction. Berymon v. Henderson, 482 N.E.2d 391 (Ill. App. 1985); Brooks v. January, 321 N.W.2d 823 (Mich. App. 1982).
If no authority over the business and property affairs of a church has been delegated to a minister, he or she may not lawfully act for the church in such matters. In one case a minister declared himself to be the absolute religious leader of a congregation and thereafter exercised complete control over all of the church's spiritual and business activities. The minister's conveyance of church properties was challenged by members of the congregation who questioned his authority ...
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