5 year trends in religious lawsuits

By ChurchTax&Law.com

Richard Hammar, an attorney specializing in legal issues for churches and clergy, recently released his report on the top five reasons faith-based organizations, including churches, went to court in 2015. Hammar categorized state appellate court and federal court rulings—around 12,000 decisions total—to identify which types of litigation most threaten religious organizations.

This analysis is instructive to churches. Most notably, it demonstrates the recurring problems that church leaders must remain vigilant about addressing. For instance, child sexual abuse once again ranked number one on the list—as it has for many years. Church leaders should take the threat seriously, and children’s ministry directors must maintain high screening and selection standards. The other categories on the list, including insurance disputes and personal injuries, are also perennial problems.

Before fall arrives—and with it, the traditional kickoff to the ministry year—church leaders should take time with their board and leaders to assess how well their church is handling these challenges.

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