At our annual vision and business meeting, we will be presenting the following proposed bylaw amendments to be ratified by a two-thirds majority of sitting members in good standing. Members in good standing, per our bylaws, are those who have gone through a membership class and regularly contribute to and participate in the activities of the church.
Before voting, we will explain the reasons why we are proposing these changes and allow time for questions. You could always email questions to Pastor Josh (firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance of the business meeting as well.
The private property of directors, officers, and members of this church shall be exempt from corporate debts and liabilities.
The corporation shall, to the extent legally permissible, indemnify each person who may serve or who has served at any time as a director, an officer, an employee, or a member of this church and each said person shall be exempt from corporate debts and liabilities, including, without limitation, counsel fees, judgments, fines, excise taxes, penalties, and settlement payments, reasonably incurred by or imposed upon such person in connection with any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit or proceeding in which he or she may become involved by reason of his or her service in such capacity; provided the duties were discharged in good faith and with the degree of diligence, care, and skill that an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances in a like position, and no breach of fiduciary duty was committed by the director, officer, employee, or member.
We extended the language to include employees and staff members. We also specifically mention various occasions in which the person serving the church may be held liable. The indemnification, however, would not and could not be extended to any such person who committed a crime -- such as fraud -- while serving in their position.
All donor-designated contributions shall be held as restricted funds and expended only according to the designation of the donor.
This church is a qualified 501(c)(3) religious/non-profit organization. All tithes, offerings, or donations of any kind are deductible under IRS section 170(c)(2). In accordance with IRS regulation, all donors agree to relinquish control of the donated funds to the discretion of the this church's Board of Elders who regularly review and oversee all accounts, projects, and ministries, and have full authority to start, modify, or close the funding of any such. New Life Church will not accept gifts with restricted use or legally-binding designated applications. A receipt of all giving will be provided.
To understand why we need to make this change in language, we need to understand the difference between designated, restricted, and solicited funds.
This change will ultimately protect both the giver and the church. We want every giver to be able to take full advantage of tax-deduction provisions by the IRS. Restricted donations do not allow for that. While we will honor designated donations, every giver acknowledges that the organization, under the leadership and authority of the Board of Elders, maintains control of the gift. This also protects the church from any claims of misappropriation of funds and potential legal action.
Disbursements of funds shall be under the supervision of the senior pastor and the elders. Checks shall require two approved signatures. Signatories shall include the senior pastor, treasurer, and other officers or members of the elders.
Disbursements of funds shall be under the supervision of the senior pastor and the elders. Checks shall require two approved signatures. Signatories shall include the senior pastor, treasurer, and other officers or members of the elders. The retained record of each check, whether pre-signed or affixed with a stamped signature, shall be reviewed and signed by both the treasurer and the president of the corporation.
First, this adds a layer of checks and balances as well as a separation of duties. Every check disbursed by the bookkeeper of the church is additionally reviewed by and signed off by the treasurer and the president of the corporation, which is the senior pastor.
Second, unlike our current language, this makes provision for us to use stamped signatures when disbursing funds. This is necessary as the church issues many checks and our timely response to financial responsibilities would be impeded otherwise.
Article IX, Section 10
The church shall have a biennial, audit review conducted by an independent auditor.
Should there ever come a time when the Board of Elders of New Life Church would deem it necessary to have an audit review of the church finances and accounting records, the Board shall have the power to order such audit review, and it is to be conducted by an independent auditor or auditory service company. Audits will only be performed when the Elder Board has decided it is needed.
Holding ourselves to a biennial audit review under the authority of our bylaws is unreasonable given the cost and time consumption of such audits. While we do not argue against audits as a wise and prudent practice, we feel it is more sensible to give the power of discretion to the authority of the Elder Board to decide when such audits are necessary.