20 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
    • 5.0 • 30 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!

    The Ins and Outs of Church Mergers

    The Ins and Outs of Church Mergers

    Church mergers appeared to reach an all-time high in 2019, but as more congregations struggle to find their way in the latter stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend likely will only grow. Some churches have experienced financial declines. Others face uncertain futures as pastors resign or retire. And still others find themselves with expensive properties to maintain even as attendance dwindles.
    In this episode, Erika examines three principal ways a merger can be done. Using examples from her work as an attorney advising congregations going through mergers, she highlights key considerations and challenges for leaders to note. And as a bonus, Erika touches on several best practices that churches should follow, whether leaders think a merger is in their future—or not.   

    Church Mergers: When, Why, and How, from Church Law & Tax
     
    The Church Attorney’s Guide to Church Mergers, by Erika E. Cole
     
    On-Demand Webinar: Should My Church Consider a Merger Right Now? with Erika E. Cole
     
    Merger and Consolidation, by Richard R. Hammar
     
    ErikaCole.com

    Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
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    • 19 min
    Can a Church Volunteer Get You Sued?

    Can a Church Volunteer Get You Sued?

    Volunteers represent the lifeblood of most any church and finding enough of them is always a challenge. Yet volunteers, by their very nature, act as representatives of a church—and any missteps with their screening, selection, supervision, and training can unfortunately open the door to unwanted legal troubles.
    In this episode, Erika delves further into the legal theories behind these potential vulnerabilities for churches, then offers quick tips that can help minimize them across key ministry areas where volunteers most often serve, including children’s and youth ministries, worship services, and transportation. 
    Show Notes:


    HR Matters for Churches, Episode 12 of the Church Law podcast 


    Vicarious Liability (Respondeat Superior), by Richard R. Hammar


    Keeping Children Safe in Your Church, Episode 15 of the Church Law podcast


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


    Directors and Officers Insurance, by Richard R. Hammar


    Risks Associated with Cell Phones, by Richard R. Hammar

    ErikaCole.com


    Questions? We welcome them! Please email Erika Cole at contact@takethenextcall.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 one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 17 min
    A Closer Look at Church Compliance

    A Closer Look at Church Compliance

    In this episode, Erika addresses this question by drawing from her nearly 25 years of experience exclusively serving churches and nonprofits. There are state and federal laws, court rulings, and regulations, of course. But what about local governments? Or the laws and rules for international activities? And what about online services, be it online streaming or even the vast and emerging metaverse?
    Erika touches on each of these topics and offers high-level takeaways.
    Show Notes:

    ErikaCole.com

     IRS Publication 1828 Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations


    2022 Church & Clergy Tax Guide by Richard R. Hammar

     Recent US Supreme Court Cases and the Church



    Questions? We welcome them! Please email Erika Cole at contact@takethenextcall.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 one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 27 min
    Pastoral Accountability for Healthy Churches, with guest Michael Martin, Esq., CPA, and president of ECFA

    Pastoral Accountability for Healthy Churches, with guest Michael Martin, Esq., CPA, and president of ECFA

    Stories of moral failures committed by pastors and ministry leaders have become all too common, eroding congregational trust, and creating legal liability. Not long ago, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) set out to learn more about what triggers these events—and how churches and ministries might get better at preventing them through written accountability plans and healthier cultures designed to support leaders and encourage transparency. In this episode, ECFA President Michael Martin tells Erika what his organization learned.
     
    Show Notes:

    “The Dangers of a Quiet Governance Change,” by Erika E. Cole, attorney and senior editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax

    The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability’s resource library


    The 15th Annual Church Compliance Conference


     
    Questions? We welcome them! Please email Erika Cole at contact@takethenextcall.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 one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 31 min
    Answering Listeners’ Questions About Legal Issues

    Answering Listeners’ Questions About Legal Issues

    The Church Law podcast’s audience continues to grow—and with this 16th episode, it’s time to give the listeners a turn. In this episode, Erika and guest Matthew Branaugh, attorney and content editor at Church Law & Tax, review several listener-submitted questions. Whatever topic they’re tackling, listeners are sure to find several questions they relate to—and the information they need to move forward in their ministries.
    Show Notes:
     
    ·        “What Does it Mean for a Church to be in Compliance?”—a free webinar with attorney Erika Cole
    ·     Church Bylaws—a free download from attorney Erika Cole
    ·     “When Is It Wise to Pay for Legal Counsel?” by attorney Matthew Branaugh
    ·     “How to Hire an Attorney for Your Church” by attorney Richard R. Hammar
    ·     “Immigration of Alien Ministers, Religious Vocations, and Religious Occupations” by attorneys Richard R. Hammar, Lina Yen Hughes, and Gerald Cipolla
    ·     “Keeping Children Safe in Your Church,” Episode 15 of the Church Law podcast
    ·     “Protect the Children in Your Church’s Small Groups” by attorney H. Robert Showers
    ·     Reducing the Risk: A Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Program
    ·     “Immunity Statutes” by attorney Richard R. Hammar
    ·     “Q&A: Reducing Legal Liability for Church Board Members” by attorney David Middlebrook
    ·     “Cash, Check, Cryptocurrency, and More—Why Churches Need More Giving Options,” Episode 10 of the Church Law podcast
    ·     “Seven Points to Consider Before Selecting a Mobile Giving App” by attorney Matthew Branaugh
    ·     “What’s the Best Giving App for Your Church?” by attorney Matthew Branaugh
    ·     Church Compensation, Second Edition by CPA Elaine Sommerville
    ·     ChurchSalary.com
      
     
    Questions? We welcome them! Please email Erika Cole at contact@takethenextcall.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 one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 36 min
    Keeping Children Safe in Your Church, with guest Matthew Branaugh, Esq., of Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax

    Keeping Children Safe in Your Church, with guest Matthew Branaugh, Esq., of Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax

    Year after year, child sexual abuse is the top reason churches find themselves in court. Unfortunately, no church is immune. So, how do church leaders handle allegations of abuse and the reporting of suspected abuse, and also work to create a risk management program? In this podcast, Erika and guest Matthew Branaugh, attorney and content editor at Church Law & Tax, tackle such questions as they identify keyways to reduce opportunities for abuse to occur in your congregation.

    Show Notes:

    ·        Recommended Reading: Protecting Children and Youth


    ·        50-State Child Abuse Reporting Laws Survey for Clergy and Church Leaders


    ·        Attorney Richard Hammar’s Legal Developments on this issue.

    ·        Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy


    ·        Reducing the Risk child sexual awareness program

     
    Questions? We welcome them! Please email Erika Cole at contact@takethenextcall.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 one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. She currently serves as a senior editorial advisor for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

_Pharaoh7 ,

Episode 19 | Can a Church Volunteer Get You Sued?

We found the discussion on this podcast episode to be very helpful and enlightening. Every ministry has the responsibility to keep a clear conscience both with God and people. Podcasts like this will help us all do an even better job.

Derek Grier
Grace Church, Dumfries VA

Funone1! ,

The Church Attorney

As an entrepreneur, I seek resources that provide concise and accurate information. The Church attorney is amazing for this. I run a services firm, not a church, but I find Erika’s insights to be so helpful. I work with volunteers at times (for my firm and for my church) and I’d never even considered vicarious liability. This has me thinking about a PLAN to protect myself and others from harm. If you are an entrepreneur, The Church Attorney is for you! Thank me later. Dr. Tina Opie

EAC 19 ,

Church Law is for EVERYONE!

Firstly, I own a gym and not a church goer. I came across this podcast and decided to listen. I am writing the review because Erika not only delivers the content in a approachable way but with a great energy. She keeps the listener engaged with personality and program design. Although a must for anyone involved in church administration, a lot of the concepts pertain to many industries. You’ll be better off for listening regardless of profession or background!

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