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To Policy or Not to Policy, That Is the Question

policies and procedures debateTheresa, I got stuck in a problematic place in my leadership a number of years ago. I was concerned about staff behavior that was counter to maintaining good and complementary relationships. I wanted a policy that I could use ... 

Rituals of Missionary Consent to Risk

visiting a doctor in hard placesBrent, you are right perception makes a huge difference. You’ve brought up the idea of ritualizing this “consent” as part of the milestones of moving into missionary service. That is... 

Expectations Are Embedded in Ritualizing Milestones

missionary lifecycle ceremoniesTheresa – Clearly articulating the vision throughout the life of the missionary, and “ritualizing” it into the developmental milestones (such as a local church dedication service) creates an awareness in all the parts (the church, supporters, family, mission) of the multiple possible futures of this mission life... 

Check the Box or Build the Body? Why Legal and Psychological Care are an Important Part of the Mission

member care of missionariesBrent, sometimes your area and mine — human resources and crisis management — are seen as necessary but dull policy stuff that must be taken care of, but are boring and irrelevant to the mission. I disagree — I see healthy psychological and legal services as building up the body of Christ. Member care and crisis management should be embraced as a component of Christian community and the love that marks Christians... 

Who Needs Attorneys? I Do! Why Organizations Need Lawyers

I became a leader last century – actually, in the closing decades of the last century! Back then, and earlier, there were already lots of lawsuits amongst Christians and churches, but I was blissfully ignorant. I operated from the assumptions that I just needed to try my best and nothing bad would happen.

Washington Rejects Clergy Negligent Supervision/Retention Claims in Church Quarrel

A woman elder, a church employee, vehemently disagreed with her senior pastor’s position on a particular issue. She insisted on pushing her position until the Session finally fired her. Then she sued the church. But the Court agreed with the church that the government has no business telling the church how to manage its leadership.

Here is the Steeple--But Whose Steeple?

Here is the church
And here is the steeple.
But does it belong
To the group or the people?

Church property disputes are painful and usually contentious. Usually, though not always, they begin when a congregation wants to leave the denomination, often over doctrinal fidelity. Because it is a dispute over church property, deep constitutional issues apply that may trump regular property law.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Policies, and Training for Ministries: Two Effective Approaches

Preventing child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, should be a top concern for churches and ministries, given the tragic effects on children and the ethical and moral responsibility of an organization that works with children to care for those children. The most important reason to address these issues is that abuse can wreck children’s lives and cause effects going on into adulthood. Children, spouses, and families of victims also suffer. In addition, the impact of the child sexual abuse scandal on Catholic and other churches shows that an organization’s life can be nasty, brutish and short when it is hit by major litigation.

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