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Law and Church
60 minutes | Oct 1, 2020
Jesus prayed for unity in the church in John 17. Paul admonished Christians to resolve their disputes within the church rather than in court. I know of very few churches that are prepared to resolve disputes within the body. 1. Better unity requires better theology. 2. Better unity requires pastoral involvement. 3. Better unity involves outside help. 4. Get an arbitration contract.
19 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
Eight Things Your Church Can Do to Limit Liability for Workplace Injury
1. Better churches have a safety policy.2. Better churches provide safety training to their workforce.3. Better churches measure compliance with their safety policy.4. Better churches correct mistakes that cause injury.5. Better church leaders lead by example in safety practices.6. Better churches have a solid reporting process for injuries.7. Better churches involve everyone in creating safe workspaces.8. Better churches also extend workplace safety to volunteers.
17 minutes | Jun 8, 2020
Changes Your Church Should Make to Comply With Safety Laws
www.LawandChurch.com 1. Better churches fulfill their general duty to provide a safe workspace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cites employers who do not provide safe workspaces, including ergonomically effective office space. 2. Better churches train their employees on ergonomics because the more employees know the more likely they are to avoid harm. Employees must know common musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and their signs and symptoms. Employees must know the importance of reporting MSDs as soon as possible. Employees must know how to report an MSD in your church. Employees must know risk factors and activities associated with work-related MSDs. 3. Better churches require employees to work safely and provide the tools necessary to do so. Require employees to stand up and walk around every hour. Provide standing desks. Provide proper typing equipment to avoid carpel tunnel. Provide back and knee braces for heavy lifting, helmets and harnesses for work at heights, and other safety equipment.
20 minutes | Jun 1, 2020
3 Legal Mental Health Issues Affecting Your Church
21 minutes | May 25, 2020
Dealing with Pandemic Financially
16 minutes | May 18, 2020
Minister to Kids Online Carefully
20 minutes | May 11, 2020
Your Medical Releases Probably Won’t Work
16 minutes | May 4, 2020
What You Need to Know about BYOD
15 minutes | Apr 27, 2020
What Leaders Must Consider About Cancelled Mission Trips
1. There are so many church leaders out there right now whose passion for the gospel has not been sickened by coronavirus. Here’s the problem: we still have to cancel those mission trips and many churches have collected thousands of dollars in donations designated for those trips. Misspending that money could be a catastrophe. At the Church Law Group, we have some ways to help you. 2. Better churches have documentation on what designated money is designated for. 3. Better churches have strict policies on the process of receiving and documenting designated funds. 4. Better churches have a plan on what to do when designated funds cannot be used for a designated purpose. 5. Go to our website at ChurchLawGroup.com and download our template plan that helps churches take care of these vital issues. Without a plan and a process, you’ll set your church up for headaches. Your church can succeed at fulfilling the great commission even in having to cancel these mission trips.
21 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
What Church Leaders Must Consider About Online Worship Services
20 minutes | Apr 13, 2020
What Better Churches Must Know About Coronavirus, Pandemic, and Law
1. Churches are better elsewhere right now. Can the government shut down a church? Yes. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. But, the Supreme Court has held that the free exercise clause is not violated if a law is generally applicable to the public and any infringement on the right to practice religion is narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest. There is no argument that shutting down gatherings of more than 10 people is a law of general applicability. There is no argument that there is not a compelling state interest when this virus is projected to kill 100,000-240,000 Americans. That’s more than all of the combat related deaths in every armed conflict the United States has been in since WWII. Is the law narrowly tailored to meet the state’s interest? The government could mandate that churches perform services in certain ways that minimize exposure to the coronavirus, but the Constitution also says “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.” This creates a circular problem. Shutting down a church violates the free exercise clause. Telling a church how to perform religious services violates the establishment clause. That is a very good indication that the law cannot be more narrowly tailored than it already is. 2. Churches can do better than civil disobedience right now. Peter Jones’s entry in the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics provides a great framework here. When we talk about civil disobedience, we know that there must be a conflict between God’s law and man’s law when for the believer, God’s law must control. Even in GOd’s law - in Scripture - there is a presumption that we should obey our authorities. That’s in Romans 13, Titus 3, 1 Peter 2, and in other places too. So, if we’re going to be disobedient, the burden is on us to show that it is necessary. A law that prohibits what God demands calls for direct civil disobedience. The question then is whether government bans on church services during the pandemic prohibits what God requires. On the surface, the answer is yes, it does. God demands that we habitually meet together. Some states now have laws that demand we do not meet together. Therefore, the law prohibits what God demands, right? Here’s what Jones says. FIrst, we must be diligent about the facts and context. Let’s not forget other facts. Other facts show that it is entirely possible for churches to meet online, and a vast number of churches are doing so. Small groups are meeting via Zoom or Google hangouts. Some churches are having small baptism services for groups of less than 8 or 10 people and wearing protective gear like gloves and masks. Some churches are sending pastors and deacons into homes to administer the Lord’s supper to groups of less than 8 or 10 people. Our inability to think outside the box does not justify civil disobedience here. Jones goes on to say that civil disobedience should be a last resort. We know this pandemic has an expiration date. We know there are other things we can do. We could even engage in litigation if necessary to regain permission to meet together, which no one has had time to pursue yet. We’ve not reached the point of last resort. Jones continues to argue that the moral objections to these bans must outweigh the moral objections to the disobedience. Disobedience here could lead to nothing more than dead Christians. I’m not discounting God’s power to protect and heal, but considering how the church can continue to meet and minister and the possibility of further degradation of Christian influence in our society because we disobeyed and expel died, I think the moral objections to disobedience outweigh the moral objections to being ordered not to. Here is the last thing Jones says: if we disobey, we should expect and accept punishment for breaking the law. That level of commitment to your convictions is what makes civil disobedience effective. It’s what made Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. effective. So if you feel the Spirit leading you to disobey and meet as a church, expect and accept the consequences of that. Otherwise, your disobedience is ineffective. 3. Churches better in pandemic will be better after pandemic. A 16th century proverb says “mater artium necessitas” - the mother of invention is necessity. Public schools have lagged behind on remote learning. Necessity right now has birthed a much better grasp of what is necessary to use technology to meet as a church. We’ve taken a break from our technology and the law series to address coronavirus, but this is a great transition back into that topic. Church leaders have largely bought into the notion that the church’s website is the new front door. Many would be guests will make up their mind about the church before they ever step foot in it. But we’ve not done a great job carrying that to its logical conclusion. Our live streams and recordings of our services are not always the greatest quality. Our ability to capture data on those who are attending online services is not at its peak. Online giving is now a matter of absolute necessity. Since these things are necessary, we would be foolish to throw these tools away after this pandemic has passed. We must continue improving the quality of our online services. We must continue to push for online giving. We must continue to work to capture contact information for people visiting our church’s website and using the website as an outreach tool. We must continue to explore how to get people into groups online.
20 minutes | Mar 30, 2020
Better Church Data Security
24 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
Better Church Websites
20 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
Churches are Better Together
1. Churches are better together than when they close their doors. 2. Churches become better together through the merger process. a. Negotiations b. Due Diligence c. Plan of Merger d. Paperwork 3. Churches demonstrate the gospel better together. a. John 17:20-23 :: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
21 minutes | Jan 27, 2020
Three Questions Every Church Process Must Answer 1. Why are we doing this? 2. What are we doing? 3. How are we going to do it? Notice this is not a policy. Remember, a policy has a basis in law, ethics, or your bylaws, an objective, procedures it governs, and Scripture supporting it. Each of these elements but the procedures the policy governs at least speak into the first question of your policy: why? Get a free course: Church Policy, Process, and Protection.
25 minutes | Jan 13, 2020
Four Components of Better Church Policies
www.LawandChurch.com Four Components of Better Church Policies BOPS 1. Your policy must have a Basis. 2. Your policy must have an Objective. 3. Your policy must refer to Procedures that it governs. 4. Your policy must contain Scripture that supports the objective.
28 minutes | Jan 6, 2020
Churches in Court
24 minutes | Dec 23, 2019
Three Major Legal Issues for Churches in 2020
There are three major legal issues to consider this year that will help make your church better. Pay. The Department of Labor has changed its salary thresholds for exempt and non-exempt employees. Here’s what you need to know. Right now, anyone who makes under $23,660 per year must be paid hourly and given overtime, for the most part. Starting January 1, that number goes up to $35,568 per year or $684 per week. Church employees must be paid a salary of at least that amount and meet certain duties to be exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Department of Labor estimates that more than a million workers will get a raise in January, and I already know of several churches who are working through making the necessary adjustments. Churches in some states will not be affected. Alaska, California, and New York already have higher salary requirements. Washington State and Pennsylvania are considering higher levels. Bylaws. I’m going to keep harping on bylaws. They are a necessary evil in the world right now. If we don’t follow our bylaws, the courts can get involved and tell us what to do. We must have a good set of bylaws. Get our free sample at www.churchbylawsbook.com. Politics. We’ve got to stay out of politics as best we can. We must preach the truth of God’s Word and we don’t need to shy away from talking about the same things politicians are talking about. However, we can’t get involved in partisanship. Get sample bylaws and a sneak peek at Josh Bryant's new book Bylaws and Business Meetings: Turning Pains to Gains at www.ChurchBylawsBook.com. Join the Law and Church Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/LawAndChurch. Get an up to date payroll guide at https://www.thechurchlawgroup.com/payroll--job-classification.html. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churcheslawyer and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/churcheslawyer.
29 minutes | Dec 16, 2019
5 Ethical Issues to Make Your Church Better in 2020
There are five things to consider when making organizational decisions to ensure that the church conducts itself ethically. You can remember them with the acronym CIVIC. Commission- We are not acting ethically if we are not fulfilling the commission Jesus gave to the church to make disciples. Integrity - The Bible says “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” What implicit or explicit agreements do we have and how will a decision break or fulfill those commitments? Value - What brings value to God? Impact - Our decisions should impact the world. Who will be impacted by any decision we make? Have we gotten their input? Citizenship - We are part of our communities. What would make your church the best citizen possible? Download our free decision guide at www.TheChurchLawGroup.com/DecisionGuide. Get access to our CLEATs library at https://www.thechurchlawgroup.com/cleats.html. Check out the Citizen Church blog at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/citizenchurch.
30 minutes | Dec 9, 2019
How to set Better Goals for 2020
We have a keyword for 2020. That word is “Better.” We want better churches, better bylaws, better processes, better policies, better evangelism, better discipleship, better worship, better websites - everything we do as a church we want to see it better. One vital component of making church better is legal compliance and ethical conduct. Where is your church now in terms of its legal compliance? Where do you want it in 12-months? If you have a hard time figuring out where you are, make sure to get a free copy of our 150-point checklist.Part of making the church better is simply making better decisions. Here are five ways you need to look at an issue to help you make a better decision. Ask what course of action will bring God the most value. Ask how a course of action will fulfill or break implicit or explicit commitments. Ask who will be affected by the decision and seek their input. Ask which course of action will best fulfill the church’s mission. Ask which course of action would be best received by a lost community. Another part of making the church better is to be more secure. Here are four ways to be more secure as a church. Having better bylaws is the most important way to secure your church from a lawsuit. Having better policies is another good way to secure your church from a lawsuit and from failure. Having better processes is a great way to not only secure against a lawsuit but be more efficient as well. Having better security is a good way to ensure that people have a safe place to worship. Download the free 150-point checklist at www.TheChurchLawGroup.com/checklist. Get sample bylaws and a sneak peek at Josh Bryant’s new book Bylaws and Business Meetings: Turning Pains to Gainsat www.ChurchBylawsBook.com. Join the Law and Church Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/LawAndChurch. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churcheslawyer, and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/churcheslawyer.
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