Part 3: Hybrid Organizational Positions and Ministerial Exceptions

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Hi Theresa! Or should I say mom? Thanks for clarifying some of the issues involving ministerial and non-ministerial employees, and professionals and hourly workers. Although, in clarifying I think you've introduced a whole bunch of other issues!

I note that you talk about all the variability that an organization has when employing ministerial employees, as well as professionals. Your response brought two issues to mind that I would like some clarification on.

  1. When looking at the ministerial exception category, especially as it occurs in a not-for-profit religious foundation, such as my own, I wonder if a person has to be an accredited or ordained minister in order to qualify for the exception. I am a psychologist. I have not been to seminary, nor am I ordained. We have had discussions before at the board level about accrediting some of us for tax purposes, but I am not just talking about that. I am wondering if there are grounds to exempt me simply by being employed by a 501(c)(3)? Lest I give you an easy out, does a missionary wife, who is part of a mission, but who has a job description, still count for exemption, and what if the mission does not ordain women?
  2. It seems like the ministerial exception would allow quite a bit of variability in terms of how much time a missionary spends on their "tasks." But I also wonder, when thinking about a missionary team, how you would conceptualize the team leader. The team leader has all the missionary tasks that everyone else does, but also for a period of time has to do some administrative work. How would you help an organization define the role of the hybrid person, such as a team leader, in order to help them be effective, as well as legal?

I have a feeling this is quite a lot to think about, and then write about. But, hey, you are the professional, right? (and, mom too!)


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