Forming a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation (Chapter 355).

Most nonprofits in Missouri today form as “Nonprofit Corporations” under Chapter 355. However, this is not the only kind of not-for-profit corporation recognized in Missouri; as we explain elsewhere, the “Benevolent Corporation” allowed in Chapter 352 might be a better fit. But if you are forming under Chapter 355, you will need to file Articles of Incorporation. The Secretary of …

Legal Issues for ‘House’ Churches.

Many Churches are expanding ministry in private homes. Some want to be a “house church.” Some want the community to spend more time together studying the Bible or holding “life groups” in their own homes. Like every church, these groups face legal issues. They need to incorporate to protect individual members from liability. They need to have clear procedures for …

ERLC/ADF publish resource for Churches on Sexual Orientation / Gender issues

We’ve had the pleasure of working with, and representing, both Alliance Defending Freedom and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the SBC. ADF and ERLC recently published a FREE resource, “Protecting Your Ministry – From Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Lawsuits.” This important resource describes the preparation every church should be taking to be ready for the future. Lawsuits are …

Will your church’s insurance defend suits involving gay marriage or sexual orientation?

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, churches are worried about lawsuits. An increased risk of suit. This isn’t an irrational fear. I don’t think any Court will soon order ministers to perform a service that conflicts with the minister’s faith. But there is a shift in public opinion that makes it plausible in the future. The definition …

The NFL gave up its tax exemption. Should your church?

Yesterday, the National Football League announced that it would give up its tax exemption. NFL football is a profitable enterprise. Individual teams paid taxes, but the league office did not. It was a shared cost (or profit center) of the teams, not separate income to tax. The consensus is that such changes will cost the NFL $10 million each year. …

Whitehead gives Missouri Bar Continuing Education seminar on non-profit law

Mr. Whitehead recently was a panelist on a two-hour, telephone-based CLE course offered by the Missouri Bar as part of its “How To Series.” Titled Representing and Advising Not-for-profit Corporations, was held on September 17, 2014; it will be replayed several times in the future. For more information, see the Missouri Bar’s website here.

Reed v. Town of Gilbert and false neutrality.

The Town of Gilbert, Arizona, does not like church signs on its streets. A few years ago, it passed a special limit on “Religious Assembly Temporary Directional Signs.” The Religious Assembly signs had to be smaller than “ideological” and “political” signs. And Religious Assembly signs could be displayed for less than a day, while political signs could be up indefinitely. …

Members may need to react to church embezzlement

Churches are not exempt from embezzlement or financial fraud. The “world’s largest megachurch” in Korea recently uncovered $12 million in fraud. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates there will be $39 billion in church financial fraud during 2014. That is more than the $35 billion spent on foreign mission work! If embezzlement happens to your church, remember …

Judge orders Corporation to seat trustees, pay $5.5 mil to firm client.

A Circuit Judge has ordered the Missouri Baptist Foundation, which administers over $152 million in assets, to seat trustee/directors elected by the Missouri Baptist Convention (a client of this firm). The Court also awarded $5.5 million in fees and interest, due to the “special circumstances” surrounding the case. In 2001, the Foundation voted to sever ties with the Missouri Baptist …