7 strategies for dealing with sex offenders at your church

Close-up of woman looking out of the corner of her eye.

If a sex offender wants to attend your church — or is already worshipping with you — how would you respond? Roll out the welcome mat? Exclude them entirely? Try to find middle ground? These are questions church leaders regularly face.


Intellectual property considerations for church leaders

Intellectual property protection

By David O. Middlebrook Churches are some of the most creative places on earth. Every week, church staff is called upon to create sermons, songs, Bible and Sunday school lessons, music, books and teaching materials, and all other kinds of creative works. Churches routinely use media — such as movies and audio clips — to […]


Protecting your church’s right to religious expression

Love is patient

Since the beginning of the United States, marriage has always been subject to detailed rules.


Examining church bylaws

A Book

The purpose of bylaws is to reflect how your church operates, as well as to provide protection and structure. The bylaws contain a detailed framework of operations, and what seems important to the church in this season might not be in the next. So, you need to have a framework that can change.


Get real-world, in-person church management training June 20-30 in Nashville!


Church executives of all types know that the church is, in some ways, a business. Whether you’re a lead pastor, executive pastor, business administrator or denominational official, you attend to congregational business of facilities, finances, human resources, information technology, and a host of other issues on a daily basis. For example, take a quick test […]


A Supreme Court case to watch: Trinity Lutheran Church vs. Pauley


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.


3 myths of the 501(c)(3): When misunderstandings lead to misguidance


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.


Examining organizational structure — including (and especially) church members’ rights

empty board room table

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.


5 compliance challenges EVERY church leader needs to know about


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.


Legal dos and don’t for pastors during an election year


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.