January 4, 2017
When an organization becomes incorporated, it gains the same legal rights and responsibilities as an individual. That’s true for churches and ministries, just as it is for businesses. Incorporation takes the weight of responsibility off the shoulders of individuals and instead, places it on the organization. In contrast, a court may find all members of an unincorporated church legally responsible for negligent or criminal actions committed by one church member.
Incorporated churches and ministries have several advantages
Churches and other ministries should consider incorporation for a variety of reasons. The most important is to protect individual members from personal liability associated with the negligent actions of fellow members.
Incorporated ministries also enjoy other benefits:
Complete incorporation at the state level
Incorporation takes place at the state level, often through the Secretary of State’s office. When incorporating, first contact an attorney who is familiar with not-for-profit laws in your state. The attorney will prepare a document known as Articles of Incorporation and help you establish your corporation’s unique name, a statement of organizational purpose, and operational bylaws.
According to Michael Allison, vice president and chief counsel at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, church bylaws should include the following elements:
Once you establish your church’s bylaws, use the bylaws as a guide by which your ministry operates. Doing otherwise can create legal problems, especially if church leaders reach major decisions in a manner inconsistent with your bylaws.
Review bylaws regularly
Your ministry should appoint a task force to evaluate its bylaws at least every two years. This group should operate strictly within the established rules for changing bylaws and should consult an attorney before finalizing official changes. Many states also require incorporated ministries to submit annual paperwork, such as an annual report to the Secretary of State’s office.
There are a lot of hats worn in any growing ministry – and we want to serve every one of them.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s wise for ministries to evaluate their fire safety plan. Whether your ministry is hosting a holiday party, prepping treats for charity, or running a community kitchen, make sure you’re well-prepared with these tips.
The holidays present unique opportunities and challenges for churches that aren’t typical during other times of the year. A lot of the ministries that I work with are seeing steady increases in attendance and are praying for a significant jump in Christmas service participation this year.
In this article, Brad Brown from Plan A Wealth Management gives a wonderful insight into why ministries might consider choosing a 403(B)(9) retirement plan.
As school is back in session, it’s important to make sure your school is equipped with the correct safety procedures. Thinking about your school’s physical security as a series of layers can help you find gaps in your plan. Transportation and volunteers are just two important aspects of your school safety plan to think about.
If there is one thing I have learned over the last decade while working private security and as a sworn peace officer, the more critical the incident, the more likely change will come out of it. Much like a pendulum, an incident occurs, and everyone cries for change.
Updating the lighting in your worship center with LED can offer significant energy savings while improving overall lighting performance.
We are so excited to welcome the newest member of the American Church Group of Colorado team, Lyndsie Glowinski.
Churches are increasingly becoming targets for cyber criminals. The most common attack is by sending “phishing” emails where the perpetrator poses as someone familiar to the ministry staff (like a senior pastor, deacon, elder, or someone trustworthy) and requests some sort of response.
Anyone who turns on the news, flips through a magazine, or browses the web can see that American society and culture are experiencing rapid transitions. Some ministries have valid concerns that issues surrounding societal shifts may expose them to negative publicity, governmental scrutiny, or litigation.
The questions become: when and how can ministries operate within their deeply held religious beliefs when they may conflict with others’ rights?