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Churches in transition.

Two churches joining together.

A new pastor.

These things may be well and good.

But, in a sense, they are experimental.   And though you believe that such change is God's will, sometimes things go awry.  Sometimes, change for the better turns out to be change for the worse.

Churches ought to seek legal counsel before the transition takes place (Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 12:15, 11:14, 15:22).  That way, if things don't work out, there are procedures in place to deal with potential new conflicts and/or allow a way to undo the change without costly and draining litigation (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12).

For example, a declining 30 member church's pastor dies.  A new pastor is miraculously found... and he's young, dynamic, full of wonderful plans, and he even has a congregation of 50 to bring to the church to fill up the empty seats and bring needed revenue to the church!  But, without seeking legal counsel, the church bylaws are amended (or not amended), and changes are made.  The new pastor is (or erroneously declares that he is) the new corporate president.  Terminating the pastor requires a 51% congregational vote.  Well, the pastor turns out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.  But now he is in power, and it takes a majority congregational vote to oust him.  The new pastor has 50 votes in his favor, and the 30 original church members are helpless to oust him.  This scenario could have been averted with proper planning, new or amended bylaws, and wise legal counsel.

Remember the timeless principle expounded in the old Fram Oil Commercials:

"You can pay me now; or you can pay me [more] later."


Copyright 2011
By Attorney Matthew B. Tozer
All rights reserved

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