Will Your Church Bylaws Survive A Court Challenge
As I travel across this great nation ensuring that Churches and Pastors are protected from challenges that would otherwise undermine their ministry, I discover the naïveté of many Pastors and Church Leaders concerning their governing bylaws. The Church bylaws are some of the most important documents needed by any ministry. Their existence and legal power may mean the difference between survival and failure.
One of the major problems I discover is that many Churches and ministries feel they are qualified to write their own. Some of this is because the Pastor may feel as if his or her knowledge of Scripture dictates that he or she is the most qualified to pen them. This is legally and financially dangerous.
Pastors have called or visited our office to speak of injustices that were directed to them by Church or Board Members. Some have been removed from their pulpits by court orders, while others have encountered extensive legal fees in attempts to continue to lead the ministry in which many of them began. Do not allow this to happen to you.
A Legal Document
An organization’s bylaws are more than just tenets of faith – they are a legal document that must be able to successfully stand against any civil/criminal actions that may arise. Pastors have been removed from pulpits, Board Members from their positions, and even doors padlocked because of poorly worded, inappropriate, or illegally formulated documents.
The day in which we live is a much different Church and religious atmosphere than 20 years earlier. Years ago people would not dare initiate civil action against a Church or Pastor. Those days are gone. Our society has birthed a litigation mentality. People, including Church goers, look for reasons to bring lawsuits against those in ministry, in addition to suing their own House of Worship.
The only protection a Pastor or Church can rely upon is the legal strength of the organization’s bylaws. They must say everything the Church believes, its method of governing, and must be enforced by a proper Scriptural Conduct and Living Provision Amendment.
If You Don’t Protect Your Interests, Who Will?
I have literally heard, supposedly good, dedicated Church Members sue the Church and tell the Pastor they are doing it to help him and their local assembly.
There are also radical groups and radical Church Members who seem hell-bent upon destroying the Church and the Pastor.
These radicals have an organization which will readily come to their aid, free of charge, simply for the privilege of destroying another Church or ministry. The ACLU has a seemingly limitless bank account and is willing to spend anything necessary to attack that which is Scripturally based and mandated.
Get Them Fixed Today
Time is of the essence. If you or your Board Members have written your Church bylaws, get a competent Church and non-profit attorney to review them for any flaws or weaknesses that may cause a problem should the Pastor or the local assembly be hauled into a court battle.
There are a few good attorneys who know Church law. Unfortunately, they are not cheap. Their services may prove to be very expensive.
How We Can Help
Chitwood & Chitwood has been protecting Pastors, Ministers, and Churches for 78 years – we are the best! Our legal team has assembled the Ultimate Church Ministry and Bylaws Manual and Software. Our manual includes detailed bylaws for all four legal types of Church government, and has successfully survived numerous court challenges.
Coupled with a very detailed amendment to Article 14, your Church and Ministry should be able to survive any challenge which may be thrown at you. We have been very proactive in our attempts to predict possible legal challenges before they occur.
To obtain these documents, one may visit our website, www.cmtc.org, call us at 800-344-0076, or attend the Church Management Tax Conference in the city nearest you.
The old adage is, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Remember, cheap advice is expensive. Invest in the safety of your Church and ministry by obtaining a good, legally sound, set of bylaws. You will be glad you did.
We have your best interests at heart. For Chitwood & Chitwood it is “A Ministry – Not a Job!”