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Living the Christian Life – Keeping Your Church Out of Court: a legal guidance manual for churches

October 31st, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Court-02It seems that too often churches tend to operate under the guiding principal of “we’ve always done it that way” and it’s inhibiting corollary, “we’ve never done it that way before.” While holding fast to certain traditions is a virtue in the church, basic procedures and modes of operation have to adapt to changing times. For the benefit of the church and its members, common sense safeguards must be in place to reduce liability, promote a safe environment and insure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Such safeguards are not only necessary to prevent a financial loss, but are also crucial for compelling moral reasons. No church wants be sued by a disgruntled former employee, uncover child abuse, or be the site of an accident. Church members deserve the reassurance that their leaders are good stewards of their tithe and trust.

The CLC has a resource that will help churches understand just what policies need to be in place and what practices should be followed.

Keeping Your Church Out of Court is a legal guidance manual for churches that focuses on prevention. The resource offers recommendations and suggestions on a wide variety of common legal issues affecting churches such as IRS compliance and employment law. It also includes 85 pages of practical guides, including church policy checklists, sample forms, and document templates. Newer churches will find KYCOOC particularly helpful in insuring that basic church structure and policies provide the best possible legal standing and protection. For well established churches, KYCOOC can serve as a reference for common legal questions that arise. After using this resource, churches will be educated and equipped to proactively confront many common, challenging legal issues.

The Christian Life Commission, in partnership with the law firm of Bourland, Wall & Wenzel, P.C. of Ft. Worth, first published Keeping Your Church Out of Court in 1995 and released an updated third version in 2008. The third edition is available in computer disc form or in a printed binder by calling the CLC.  In addition to providing this resource, the CLC and Bourland, Wall and Wenzel, P.C., are available to conduct seminars or workshops to provide an overview of the material and answer any questions congregations may have. Any scheduled seminar or workshop dates will be noted in this E-newsletter.

Our society is becoming more and more litigious and it seems people are more likely to run to the courthouse or wield the threat of a lawsuit as a weapon. While we would like to think that churches are immune from such conflict, we know that’s just not the case. By practicing sound operating procedures and taking common-sense precautions, churches can avoid potentially crippling lawsuits. Get a copy of Keeping Your Church Out of Court and take the opportunity to institute positive changes in your church operation.

To order a copy of Keeping Your Church Out of Court, 3rd Edition please call the Christian Life Commission at 214-828-5190 or email

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