LEGAL Archives - Church Executive


Critical church-state separation issues at play in the Supreme Court

By Kimberlee Norris, attorney at law  The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case, wherein several parents are challenging a state court decision canceling a tuition subsidy program because it could be used to help send kids to church-affiliated private schools. As we noted last year when the […]

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3 potential threats to your church as it expands

In the new year, protect your church with strategies to prevent and address these threats. By Shawn Yingling Your church is more than just a building. It’s a community of passionate, caring members who have chosen to share a common mission and message. It’s the setting of weddings, celebrations and mourning. It’s a place to […]

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Effective screening: keeping the wolf out of the sheep pen

By Gregory Love & Kimberlee Norris “Pastor Arrested for Molesting Teens in Youth Group,” screamed a recent media headline in a heavily populated metropolitan area. Unfortunately, it’s not an anomaly; headlines detailing child sexual abuse in ministry contexts occur almost daily. The reality is daunting: one in four girls and one in six boys will be […]

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Advancements in volunteer screening

Proven strategies to keep your people safe — from recognizing red flags to re-screening practices, cost considerations, and navigating potentially sensitive conversations Many churches fall victim to an “it-can’t-happen-here” mentality. In actuality, what makes churches especially prone to ill-intentioned volunteers? Norton: The nature and admirable traits of most clergy is one of compassion and trust. […]

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A Supreme Court case to watch

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue poses critical church-state separation issues By Kimberlee Norris, attorney at law  The Supreme Court will be deciding Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue this Term. The decision could be very important for Church Executive readers, particularly if it alters or clarifies the Court’s 2017 holding in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. […]

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Cyber security & your church

How to properly protect your parish from scammers By Elizabeth “Betty” Norman Cyber criminals seek out organizations that seem unsuspecting. Unfortunately, churches often offer just what they’re looking for. In late April 2019, Father Bob Stec of the Saint Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick, Ohio found himself sending a note to parish members that no […]

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What you need to know as an executor

By Matthew D. Hoffman You have recently been named the executor of an estate — but, like many people, you might not be familiar with the scope of the task that you’re undertaking and the important information you need to know. An executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual’s […]

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Child sexual abuse in ministry contexts: understanding the risk

By Gregory Love & Kimberlee Norris Child sexual abuse risk in ministry contexts cannot be ignored. This statement implies child protection has been ignored by some ministries in the past. For most ministries, however, the challenge is ignorance of the problem. Most ministries are doing something, but not doing the right thing. Church Executive and […]

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Equipping pastors for counseling

Overall, are pastors are adequately prepared to provide counseling to their church members? Yvonne N. Glass, Ph.D., LPCC-S: It depends. Pastors are prepared for pastoral counseling. Some are certainly well-equipped to deal with parishioners’ spiritual and emotional issues. Many more are reasonably equipped to do “non-clinical” counseling, such as grief and pre-marital counseling. They likely […]

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Protecting the kids in your care

Expert advice for protecting the church’s children against sexual abuse and bullying — plus, how to mitigate internet-use risks What are the biggest risks and liabilities facing churches in the area of protecting children? Alex Smith: Allegations of sexual abuse are the greatest risk and liability.  Also, complacency — saying, ‘We’ve always done it this […]

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