At Crain Law Group, we seek to provide legal guidance from a Biblically-informed perspective. We are lawyers and do not purport to be theologians, but we do take seriously the obligation of all believers to “rightly handl[e] the word of truth.” Our Statement on Church Governance describes of 1) how we serve churches, 2) a statement of our views on what the Bible says about how the New Testament church is to be governed, and 3) an explanation of the models of governance we recommend. See a copy of this resource at: https://www.crainlaw.legal/church-ministry-cases/
At CLG, we regard our commitment to what we term our “Healthy Church Initiative” to be among the most critical of all the services we provide. The Healthy Church Initiative is born out of the lessons we have learned as attorneys representing churches across the country that have experienced both internal and external conflict. Regrettably, we have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of inadequate legal safeguards in place before internal church issues arise.
Without careful and proactive planning, congregational church governance can lead to deadlock between rival factions vying for authority. Strong organizational structures that reflect the Biblical principles for church governance allocate authority so as to reduce the likelihood that a dispute will cripple or destroy a ministry. Hence, autonomous, congregational churches stand to benefit the most from Biblically-informed legal guidance in this vital area.
The lessons to be learned from a lack of legal guidance can be very costly to a church ministry. As this article goes to publication, I am representing a large church in a legal battle over a church split. The case has pending in the Chancery Court of Robertson County for seven years! A jury trial is set in the next few weeks, and the jury will be asked to decide important questions that will determine the future of this church and who is entitled to govern this congregation. The trial and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation expense this church has incurred could all have been prevented had the church sought legal counsel years ago in drafting a set of church governing documents.
We take great honor in our legal work with churches and ministries. The greatest reward from this work is seeing churches whom we have served of all denominations flourish in their ministries and the fulfillment of their biblical purpose and calling.
Larry L. Crain, Attorney with Crain Law Group, PLLC