44 episodes

Pastors and church leaders in America face challenges that are increasing in scope and impact. Whether we're talking issues of cultural dynamics and the church or need-to-know information about everyday operations, the legal issues impacting churches aren't going away. Listen to the Church Law podcast to gain real life insights from a real lawyer who does this work everyday. You'll gain key insights to help your church in this critical time, and learn the pitfalls to avoid. All straight from The Church Attorney® along with some special guests!

Church Law Christianity Today, Erika Cole

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.9 • 49 Ratings

Pastors and church leaders in America face challenges that are increasing in scope and impact. Whether we're talking issues of cultural dynamics and the church or need-to-know information about everyday operations, the legal issues impacting churches aren't going away. Listen to the Church Law podcast to gain real life insights from a real lawyer who does this work everyday. You'll gain key insights to help your church in this critical time, and learn the pitfalls to avoid. All straight from The Church Attorney® along with some special guests!

    A Look at Churches and the Economy in 2024, with Guest Rob Eby

    A Look at Churches and the Economy in 2024, with Guest Rob Eby

    There’s no shortage of economic indicators and reports to read, and as we near the halfway point of 2024, church leaders likely wonder where everything is heading. 
    Inflation persists and interest rates still hover near recent historic highs. Unemployment remains low, but new jobs reports suggest that may be changing. Many stocks have posted impressive returns while housing prices continue surging in many places. 
    In this episode, Erika talks about the economy with Rob Eby, a CPA from Aprio who has served churches and nonprofits for more than two decades. 
    The two review some high-level best practices all churches should remember, regardless of the economic outlook, including staying true to mission and budgeting. They also discuss the power of prayer, the value of reserves, and who should be tapped in a congregation should an economic crisis arise. 

    “Managing Tough Financial Times,” from the editors of Church Law & Tax


    Church Finance, Second Edition: The Church Leader’s Guide to Financial Operations by Michael E. Batts

    “Church Loan Modifications in a Crisis,” by Vonna Laue and Michelle Sanchez

    “Q&A: Adopting a New Budget During Extraordinary Times,” by Michael E. Batts

    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.


    Questions? Comments? We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
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    • 24 min
    What To Do—or NOT Do—This Election Year

    What To Do—or NOT Do—This Election Year

    It’s election season in the United States, and after contentious races nationwide in 2020 and 2022, 2024 promises to bring even more heat. 
    The Oval Office is up for grabs. All 435 seats in the US House are on ballots, as are 34 in the Senate. Add to that a slate of 13 gubernatorial elections and countless state and local elections, and measures.
    What is a church leader to do? Should pastors speak up, speak out?  
    In this episode, Erika walks church leaders through some of the key considerations they make about political involvement as Election Day approaches. 
    Some activities, like endorsing or opposing a candidate, may jeopardize a church’s tax-exempt status. But other activities are allowed. Erika provides need-to-know tips for navigating this tricky line throughout the 2024 election season. 
    SHOW NOTES
    “The Tax Implications of Churches and Political Involvement,” by Richard R. Hammar
    “Politics, Churches, and Constitutional Protections,” by Erik Stanley
    “Politics and the Church: Activism, Speech, and the Tax Code,” by Church Law & Tax 
    “Checklist: How Various Political Activities Might Affect Your Church’s Tax-Exempt Status” by Church Law & Tax
    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.
    Questions? Comments? We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 17 min
    Legal Considerations for Youth Ministry, with Guest Jeff Dalrymple

    Legal Considerations for Youth Ministry, with Guest Jeff Dalrymple

    Producer’s Note: This podcast episode addresses a very sensitive topic. Listener discretion is advised.
    The statistics are staggering: one in three girls and one in five boys in America will be sexually abused before they turn 18, and 90 percent of victims know their abusers.
    Church Law & Tax’s legal research shows that abuse claims are a perennially top reason churches and religious organizations go to court each year. 
     And church leaders must mobilize to respond.
    Jeff Dalrymple, executive director of the Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP), joins Erika to talk more about the trends, the vulnerabilities within ministries, and the steps leaders must take to reduce those vulnerabilities and protect the youth entrusted into their care.
    SHOW NOTES

    Episode 41: “What Leaders Need to Know About Church Insurance Coverage” 


    Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP)

    “The Top 5 Reasons Churches and Religious Organizations End Up in Court,” by Richard R. Hammar 

    “Minimizing the Risks of Child Molestation in Churches,” by Richard R. Hammar

    Reducing the Risk: A child sexual abuse awareness program

    “Does Your Church Have Sexual Abuse Liability Coverage,” by Charlie Cutler

    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.
    Questions? Comments?  We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 20 min
    What Leaders Need to Know Now about Church Insurance Coverage,

    What Leaders Need to Know Now about Church Insurance Coverage,

    Like it or not, church leaders need to think about insurance coverage. While ministry always should be driven first by the unique call God places upon a congregation, good stewardship still requires anticipating the possible risks a congregation will encounter and mitigating them. 
    In this episode, Peter Persuitti—the global managing director of Gallagher Insurance Company’s nonprofit and religious practices—joins Erika to talk about insurance trends affecting churches. 
    Property insurance has been significantly affected by extreme weather events, causing some insurance carriers to end certain coverages—or even pull out of certain geographic markets. Abuse allegations remain a consistent source of litigation, again reminding us of the vigilance for prevention. And vehicle accidents and building security remain key challenges demanding the attention of church leaders. 
    On top of all that, insurance costs continue to rise. 
    Peter and Erika discuss these issues and more, emphasizing the ways leaders can think and plan proactively to help demonstrate their call to care well for the people and assets they’re blessed with—and all while working to minimize the potentially costly threats their ministries face. 
    SHOW NOTES

    Episode 32: “Readying Your Church for the AI Wave”

    Episode 26: “Building a Culture of Safety and Security in Churches”

    “15 Things Richard Hammar Wants Pastors to Know: Church Insurance,” by Richard R. Hammar

    “Minimizing the Risks of Child Molestation in Churches,” by Richard R. Hammar


    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.
    Questions? Comments? We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 29 min
    Five Critical Things Every Church Board Member Should Know

    Five Critical Things Every Church Board Member Should Know

    SHOW NOTES

    Episode 5: “Why Church Meetings Go Off the Rails”

    Episode 14: “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and What You Should Consider Before Changing Your Bylaws, with Guest Mike Cosper” 

    Episode 30: “Equipping Your Church Board for Long-Term Success” 

    “What Every Church Board Needs to Know,” a self-paced webinar by attorney Erika E. Cole

    “Board Member Checklist,” by James Cobble and Tyler Charles

    “Four Fiduciary Duties of Church Boards,” by Richard R. Hammar

    “Preparing for a Church Business Meeting,” by Sarah E. Merkle


    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.
    Questions? Comments? We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 18 min
    Expanding Uses for Church Property and Related Legal Considerations, with attorney Midgett Parker

    Expanding Uses for Church Property and Related Legal Considerations, with attorney Midgett Parker

    Property represents the most valuable tangible asset owned by churches. Yet many use them only once or twice a week, leaving a lot of ministry opportunities untapped.
    In this episode, Erika talks with attorney Midgett Parker, who has represented faith-based institutions for real estate matters since 1990. Through his decades of experience, Parker has observed many ways churches can maximize their properties to serve their communities. In some instances, these uses can also generate alternative revenue that can help further support and expand a church’s ministry reach. 
    Erika and Midgett talk more about the types of opportunities available to churches, including leasing space to outside groups, providing rooms for special events, and working with businesses that need real estate for solar panels, cell phone towers, billboards, and more. 
    They also explain more for church leaders about leasing agreements, zoning laws, property tax exemption, and other legal issues to consider.  
    SHOW NOTES

    “Before You Share Your Space,” by Richard R. Hammar

    “Leasing Church Premises,” by Richard R. Hammar

    “Religious Land Use & The Church: A Virtual Roundtable,” featuring attorneys Midgett Parker, John Mauck, Noel Sterrett, Eric Treene, and Matthew Branaugh

    “How Church-Run Coffee Shops, Bookstores, and Other Ventures Can Trigger Tax Liability,” by Church Law & Tax

    “Managing Reporting Requirements: Protecting Your Organization in a Time of Increased Scrutiny,” by Erika E. Cole

    “Eleven Things Churches Should Know about Zoning,” by attorney John Mauck

    “The Top 5 Reasons Churches and Religious Organizations End Up in Court,” by Church Law & Tax

    Download your FREE copy of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System document checklist here, and check out Episode 29 (“Using a Legal Audit to Position Your Church for the Long Haul”) to learn about the importance of a legal audit for your church.

    Questions? Comments? We welcome them! Please contact Erika Cole at erikacole.com. Erika reads each comment and may answer your question in an upcoming episode.
    See all episodes of Church Law.
    The Church Law podcast is part of Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, a not-for-profit publishing ministry.
    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is the creator of The Church Attorney Legal Audit® System, a proprietary legal audit process that helps church leaders be confident they are operating with integrity, and avoiding costly risks. She serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
49 Ratings

49 Ratings

Lost mom2 ,

Engaging and Informative

As a long time church leader, I subscribe to the Church Law podcast because it is engaging and informative. The host is competent, compelling and selects the exact topics I need to hear. She shares complex concepts in an easy to understand manner. 5 stars!

Drshuey ,

No Depth

The show takes on a wide swath of topics, but just mentions the names of what those things are. It never goes into depth of any of the topics. I’m guessing it’s because the host wants you to spend money on her business, but the lack of depth really doesn’t help us. Instead of mentioning 5 things in 15 minutes every other month, spend 20 minutes talking about one of those topics every week.

ShawnT4 ,

Informative

Discussion is simple to understand and very insightful.

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