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Do Your Church’s Governing Documents Allow Virtual Business Meetings?

Answering this crucial question can help legally validate decisions made during the coronavirus outbreak—and beyond.

Editor’s Note. This article is part of the Advantage Membership. Learn more on how to become an Advantage Member or upgrade your membership.

The law governing business meetings for churches is state-specific, meaning that whether your church can hold a virtual business meeting through a video conference or other technological means is ultimately governed by the law of the state where your church is incorporated. Once you have gained an understanding of what applicable state laws say about virtual business meetings for your board or membership, you then need to check your bylaws and any other organization-specific rules applicable to business meetings.

Step one: Find bylaw language relevant to board and membership meetings

First, look at the section in your bylaws that discusses the church board and its meetings. Find language that discusses when and how the church leaders or ...

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Sarah E. Merkle is a professional parliamentarian and presiding officer. One of five lawyers worldwide to have earned the credentials Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher (CPP-T) and Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP), she helps boards, associations, corporations, and public bodies navigate rules applicable to governance and business meetings.

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