January 18, 2017
Lawsuits against churches and ministries are on the rise, making their board members especially vulnerable. Sometimes, courts have found directors and officers personally liable when their actions have resulted in financial damages.
Consider these examples:
Even well-meaning actions could put the personal assets of board members at risk. However, by taking steps to limit liability, church and ministry boards can find stronger legal positions in which they can properly function.
Incorporate your ministry
If a church is incorporated, board members can gain the same legal protections that apply to board members in businesses. This protection comes with two requirements:
When incorporating, first contact an attorney who is familiar with not-for-profit laws in your state.
Include bylaw protection
If your bylaws do not include indemnification provisions, enlist the help of a local attorney to draft some. These provisions could prevent board members from having to pay out-of-pocket costs if they are sued in connection with their ministry work. Evaluate your bylaws regularly by appointing a task force to review the bylaws for necessary changes or additions.
Consider charitable immunity laws
Most states have charitable immunity laws that can protect volunteer workers—and potentially board members—from being sued in connection with their volunteer service. That immunity, however, is limited because the laws generally:
Charitable immunity laws are complicated and vary by state. Ask a local attorney to review applicable state and federal charitable immunity laws with you.
Insure your board members
Standard general liability insurance policies do not cover claims against directors or officers for financial damages resulting from their failure to perform their duties. Separate directors and officers coverage helps protect board members’ personal assets in the event of certain financial damages and lawsuits. It also covers financial damages that other parties undergo when leaders fail to perform their duties properly.
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.