Legal

Legal 2016-10-12T10:59:19+00:00

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to get attorneys involved in the happenings of a church. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We need legal advice—for everything from overtime pay laws to the legal use of movies in a sermon.

 

Copier Leasing and Negotiation Tips

October 3rd, 2016|Comments Off on Copier Leasing and Negotiation Tips

As an attorney, the vast majority of business and church executives I talk to dread their copier lease expiring as they must deal with leasing new ones. Recently, we helped a church with a multiple [...]

Should Your Church Consider a Cell Tower Lease?

September 13th, 2016|Comments Off on Should Your Church Consider a Cell Tower Lease?

A sales rep stops by your church office with a simple offer. Your building is ideally suited to be a cell phone tower. The equipment will be practically invisible. If you lease the space to [...]

Expanding Abuse Reporting Requirements

October 4th, 2015|Comments Off on Expanding Abuse Reporting Requirements

Am I a mandatory reporter? If an adult describes having been abused as a child, am I required to report? When? How do reporting requirements impact individuals providing spiritual guidance? Around the country, state legislatures are [...]

Model for Amending Governing Documents

November 5th, 2014|Comments Off on Model for Amending Governing Documents

Most churches amend their governing documents once every decade or so. It is a daunting task. Besides, many members of churches hate change. Most churches delay amending their governing documents until a crisis hits. During [...]

Video: Opting Out of Social Security

September 23rd, 2014|Comments Off on Video: Opting Out of Social Security

Should you opt out of Social Security? Did you know that you have to have a valid legal reason to make this choice? Are you aware of the requirements to opting out? Watch as David Middlebrook of Church [...]

Sexual Abuse “Fire Drill”: Put Preparation to the Test

September 8th, 2014|Comments Off on Sexual Abuse “Fire Drill”: Put Preparation to the Test

The "Fire Drill" article below has a companion piece, entitled Sexual Abuse Response Planning. After reading this article, refer to the planning form; it’s a valuable framework for discussion/planning a responsive effort to an allegation—even a [...]

Sexual Abuse Response Planning

September 8th, 2014|Comments Off on Sexual Abuse Response Planning

This planning guide has a companion piece called Sexual Abuse “Fire Drill”: Put Preparation to the Test, an article that give further explanation. The planning guide below should serve as a worksheet after reading the "Fire [...]

Video: Obamacare and Your Church

February 27th, 2014|Comments Off on Video: Obamacare and Your Church

XPastor's friend, The Church Law Group, regularly shares high quality videos. The video below is entitled, "Does the Affordable Care Act apply to your church?" Can you define what affordable and minimum essential coverage means? [...]

Copyright and the Pastor’s Sermon

February 7th, 2014|Comments Off on Copyright and the Pastor’s Sermon

Bob Smietana, in an article for Christianity Today, addresses copyright and the pastor's sermon. His article is entitled, "Who Owns the Pastor's Sermon? Church or pastor? When sermons become books that make millions in royalties, [...]

Video: Secrecy, Privacy and Non-Disclosure Agreements

October 9th, 2013|Comments Off on Video: Secrecy, Privacy and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Should you use a Confidentiality Agreement at your church? If so, do you know who needs to sign the agreements? Does your church have a process to deal with conflicts that arise, before they move into [...]

Video: Protect Your Sermons From Abuse

September 30th, 2013|Comments Off on Video: Protect Your Sermons From Abuse

Did you know that your church is in the publishing business? Are you aware of everything that makes up Intellectual Property? Have you developed a thorough plan to protect the intellectual property of your church? Watch as David Middlebrook discusses those things [...]

Video: When Insurance Doesn’t Want to Pay

July 31st, 2013|Comments Off on Video: When Insurance Doesn’t Want to Pay

What should you do with a denied insurance claim that you believe is valid? David Middlebrook of the Church Law Group outlines helpful steps to start resolving a dispute in this video. David Middlebrook, and [...]

Video: Ministerial Housing Allowance

July 17th, 2013|Comments Off on Video: Ministerial Housing Allowance

Attorney David Middlebrook, of the Church Law Group, discusses the essentials of the Ministerial Housing Allowance in this helpful video. David Middlebrook and Matt Anthony, both of the Church Law Group, are regular presenters at [...]

Overtime and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

June 27th, 2013|Comments Off on Overtime and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Do you believe in slavery? Because we believe in the dignity of all people, we have enacted various laws to protect our workers. Whether you want to read this article or not, you need to! [...]

How to Launch a Risk Management Program

June 14th, 2013|Comments Off on How to Launch a Risk Management Program

“What event might occur that could take out our church?” Drop that question at the next staff meeting and you’ll feel the tone of the room take a nose-dive. No one likes to talk about [...]

Sexual Abuse: Denial Won’t Make It Go Away!

June 10th, 2013|Comments Off on Sexual Abuse: Denial Won’t Make It Go Away!

In 2012, five employees at Victory Christian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma were arrested for a two-week delay in notifying authorities of sexual abuse allegations. Read with care to prevent such from happening in your church. [...]

Overtime Pay in the Smartphone Era

May 1st, 2013|Comments Off on Overtime Pay in the Smartphone Era

The Fair Labor Standards Act exempts employees employed in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity from the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions. To be covered by one of these exemptions, an employee must perform [...]

Video: Legal Use of Movies and Music in Sermons

April 23rd, 2013|Comments Off on Video: Legal Use of Movies and Music in Sermons

I'm reading Church Law Group's Guide to Intellectual Property right now. It is a helpful work in trying to navigate the legal and practical issues. Check out David Middlebrook's video and begin to see how [...]

Church Mergers: Legal and Financial Matters

April 10th, 2013|Comments Off on Church Mergers: Legal and Financial Matters

Each year, thousands of U.S. churches—plus tens of thousands of others elsewhere around the globe—are sensing that they could fulfill their God-given mission better together than separately. They're exploring new ways to join forces for [...]

Intellectual Property Policy

April 4th, 2013|Comments Off on Intellectual Property Policy

XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church---items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below is the Intellectual Property Policy of Christ Community Church of [...]

Video: Is Your Church Having a Super Bowl® Party?

January 12th, 2013|Comments Off on Video: Is Your Church Having a Super Bowl® Party?

XPastor and many others have benefited from the counsel of David Middlebrook and Matt Anthony at The Church Law Group. David and Matt ask: "Can you legally show the 'Big Game' each February at your church?  Can [...]

Communicable Disease Policy

December 24th, 2012|Comments Off on Communicable Disease Policy

XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church---items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and general policies. Below is a Communicable Disease Policy from Northwest Bible Church in [...]

The Process of Amending the Church Constitution

December 16th, 2012|Comments Off on The Process of Amending the Church Constitution

XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church---items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below is the Original Constitution, Draft 12 of the editing process, [...]

Copyright Issues Affecting Churches

December 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Copyright Issues Affecting Churches

Think twice before singing that new worship song next Sunday or before using that scene from a popular movie as an illustration in your sermon. Believe it or not, even with the very best of [...]

The First Amendment: Why the Court Won’t Hear Your Church Fight

December 6th, 2012|Comments Off on The First Amendment: Why the Court Won’t Hear Your Church Fight

Hypothetical situation: A church’s board of directors opposes the pastor, not agreeing with a certain vision or course of action, each claiming to have the best interest of the church in mind. The church’s congregation is [...]

Change in Florida Sexual Abuse Law

December 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Change in Florida Sexual Abuse Law

How has the law changed? How does this change in law affect you? Will this impact other states’ laws? On April 26, 2010, Florida lawmakers passed a bill removing the statute of limitations (or time limits) for victims [...]

Sexual Abuse Safety Issues in Ministry

December 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Sexual Abuse Safety Issues in Ministry

In recent years, our society has begun to understand the widespread nature of child sexual abuse. Studies indicate that one female child out of every three and one male child out of seven will be [...]

Standards of Care are Rising for Church Planters and Missionaries

December 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Standards of Care are Rising for Church Planters and Missionaries

Douglas W. Myers was a Baptist pastor and church planter. Myers allegedly received training and funds from the Florida Baptist Convention, and others, in connection with planting two churches in Florida. Myers pled guilty to [...]

Free Minister’s 2013 Tax Guide

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Free Minister’s 2013 Tax Guide

Our friends at GuideStone Financial Resources are making this resource available to the XPastor community. They are committed sponsors of the XP-Seminar each year and have given us great help in our retirement planning. Enjoy this [...]

Risk Management for Churches and the Kingdom of God

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Risk Management for Churches and the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God moves and grows forcefully throughout the world. The blood of the martyrs testifies to the spiritual battles that have been waged throughout the annals of time towards the church. The ecclesia [...]

Care & Correction or Shaming—A Case Study

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Care & Correction or Shaming—A Case Study

The newspapers screamed headlines such as “Is Public Shaming by the Church Legal?” and “Church, ex-member battle over discipline.” The story ran from coast to coast and was fodder in blog discussions, hallway chatter, legal [...]

Care & Correction or Shaming: Excerpts from the Case Study

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Care & Correction or Shaming: Excerpts from the Case Study

Newspapers screamed the headline, “Is Public Shaming by the Church Legal?” The story ran coast to coast. Yet, the giants of the national news media had differing “facts” from each other—so, carefully read all the [...]

Handling Cash

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Handling Cash

Consider the following scenarios:  (1) A newspaper headline reads: “Sticky Fingered Deacon Pads Wallet with Offering Plate Funds.” Nobody wants this humiliating portrayal of their church to appear in the paper. (2) A senior pastor dreads [...]

Is Your Data Secure?

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Is Your Data Secure?

Think for a moment. Where do you keep information about your congregants or donors? In an Excel file on someone's desktop computer? An Access database housed on your laptop? If someone were to steal your [...]

Webcasting Church Services

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Webcasting Church Services

Imagine holding Sunday services with an unlimited number of available seats. Imagine those seats being accessible to anyone, anywhere in the United States or world. Surprisingly, these days it’s easy to turn those dreams into [...]

Blogging and Facebook Policy

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Blogging and Facebook Policy

These days it seems everyone is pushing you towards blogging, Facebook and Twitter. Whether for professional or personal reasons, it can be wise to take advantage of these emerging social networking opportunities. However, there can [...]

Employees that Qualify for Minister’s Taxation

December 5th, 2012|Comments Off on Employees that Qualify for Minister’s Taxation

Determining who qualifies as a minister for tax purposes can be challenging---and misclassification can be costly. This article will help you properly classify your ministerial staff and avoid the risk of back taxes, penalties, and more. In the [...]