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Q&A: When the Church Board Mishandles Situations

Can the church hold the board or its individual members liable?

Can the church hold its board members liable corporately or individually for mishandling situations involving the church?

If the board was exercising reasonable business judgment in a transaction for the church, then it is not liable if the action results in a bad outcome. Board members do not have to be perfect. They can make mistakes, just as we all do, without facing liability. If the board was not acting in a proper business capacity, such as stealing church money, then in that instance the church can bring a claim against the board. We have also encountered church splits where certain factions have brought claims against board members claiming that the board was not following their duties or exceeding their powers under the church's governing documents.

David Middlebrook is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, and his practice emphasis is focused on representing tax-exempt organizations.

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.

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  • May 11, 2010

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