Crosstalk: July 31, 2018
Have you ever prepared for a trip by taking your automobile to a service garage for a check-up? Perhaps you go to the dentist or doctor on a regular basis to get an assessment regarding your dental or overall physical health. Maybe you meet with your insurance representative to review your policy and make sure everything is still in order.
So what about our churches? What is their legal health? What safeguards can they take to yield protection in the event of adversity? How do we bring about maximum ministry with minimum liability?
Joining Jim to answer these and other such questions was David Gibbs III. David is the president and general counsel of the National Center for Life and Liberty, a legal ministry that protects the rights of churches and Christian organizations nationwide. He regularly speaks at churches and conferences and also litigates cases as a trial attorney. He also manages the Gibbs Law Firm and has argued before the United States Supreme Court as well as numerous federal and district courts. He was the lead attorney in the Terri Schiavo case representing her parents as they fought to save their daughter's life. He's the author of five books including 'Fighting for Dear Life' and 'Understanding the Constitution'.
While for many years churches seemed almost immune from liability, today they are being sued like any other business. The reasons for such lawsuits can vary from hiring and firing decisions, to the issue of volunteers, safety and security, protecting children, vehicle accidents, and other categories.
Unfortunately, while many pastors have received world-class educations by attending Bible colleges and seminaries, the idea of making sure they are prepared for the business side of ministry can be lacking. This involves knowing how to handle ministry finances to protecting the church tax exemption.
As this program moved along, Jim had David detail child safety policies and procedures (including background checks for ministry volunteers, electronic communication/social media, reporting of child abuse, and protecting church personnel from false accusations), plagiarism, emergency response policies and procedures, and much more.
David pointed out that the Devil hates the church and if he can use the legal system, it becomes a 'stick' to attack the Lord's work. So if you take any steps for Jesus, you can expect adversity because the Devil won't leave you alone. Due to that threat, what he's attempting to do through the National Center for Life and Liberty is to partner with local churches and encourage them to do everything God has called them to do, do it with excellence, but at the same time do it in a way that minimizes liability.
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