All 20 priests, seminarians to be hosted in New York later this month
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, a 2013 lawsuit filed by the church after the state of Missouri rejected its application for a grant to replace its preschool’s playground pebbles with repurposed rubber from old tires.
The State’s grounds for denial? The preschool was ineligible because it was run by a church, citing an 1875 Missouri constitutional amendment — known as the Blaine Amendment — prohibiting public funds from being used “in aid of any church.”
Here, David O. Middlebrook — a founding shareholder of Anthony & Middlebrook and the Church Law Group in Grapevine, TX, and Church Executive “Legal Realities” Series author — offers his take on this potentially pivotal case for churches.
At our Ultimate Church Structure Conferences, I speak with many pastors who, unfortunately, have been misinformed about what 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status truly means and the impact it will have on their churches. Pastors often attend our conference in the hopes of clearing up doubts and questions that they’ve been riddled with regarding tax law and church compliance. For that very reason, I have listed below three of the most common misconceptions that I hear from pastors across the country regarding churches and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
There are more than 400,000 churches in the United States, each with its own governance structure and decision-making model. With so many different models and terminology used to describe church governance structures — elders, deacons, trustees, directors, pastor and apostle — it can be quite confusing to determine what’s the best and most biblically-sound corporate structure for your own church.
The landscape for churches and ministries is filled with pitfalls.
Over the last 20 years, Congress and the IRS have become very interested in the activities of churches, ministries and nonprofits, which has led to the enactment of section 4958 and the creation of the Exempt Organizations Executive Compensation Compliance Project, resulting in increased enforcement presence and millions of dollars in fines.
Since 1954, churches — and other nonprofits in America — have been prohibited from engaging in certain kinds of political activity. While these limitations might be an affront to the moral conscience of many pastors across America, it has become a way of life for 501(c)(3) organizations.
One definition of “dread” is managing payroll without qualified staff. For those churches with limited resources, ministerial staffing positions must be filled first. A common sentiment among pastoral leadership regarding payroll is, How hard can it be?
Well, it is hard. And, some mistakes could lead to serious consequences.
Accidents happen; it’s inevitable. And when those accidents occur, it can be a scary time for both the injured party and the church. When such events take place and the injured party files a claim against the church, it’s called a liability claim.
Not infrequently, pastors and their parish / congregational administrators, board and / or committee members are inclined to avail themselves of “donated” labor in the form of volunteers who purport to have the appropriate experience, expertise and equipment required to perform some necessary project work on or within parish buildings.
As your church settles down from Christmas celebrations, things are no doubt getting into full swing for the person managing all your church’s accounting. If that person is you, you likely still have several time-sensitive tasks on your horizon that need to get finished by January 31. Putting a good system in place can help keep you on track — and that’s what we’ve outlined for you below.