Church Corporate Structure

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Paul3144, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Paul3144

    Paul3144
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    How is your church structured? We have the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc. which is a non-stock, non-profit corporation with Church members. There is also Look and Live, Inc., which owns the Church's intellectual property and the First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville, Inc., which is the Church's school and leases a building from the Church. The Church also loaned money to the Academy to start the school with repayment terms to be agreed to by the Trustees of the two corporations. Our other corporation is the First Baptist Foundation of Jacksonville, Inc. which manages and invests money for long-term stuff from large donations. The Foundation can also give money to the Church, Academy, or to Look and Live, Inc. The First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville, Inc., Look and Live, Inc., and the First Baptist Foundation of Jacksonville, Inc. are also non-stock, non-profit corporations of which the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc. is the sole member.
     
  2. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Paul, I'm curious about your foundation. How long has your church had it? Do you know if getting it started was controversial? Several years ago I made a detailed proposal to start a foundation in our church and actively solicit large gifts and bequests to go in it. It was not well received. The objection was that a church should not be accumulating money but actively spending money they are given. Our pastor at the time believed a church should have enough money on hand to meet routine problems, such as fixing the roof, but should otherwise have all its receipts committed to use. So my proposal went nowhere and we hardly ever get a substantial gift or bequest.

    Oh yes, our church is a corporate entity but there is only one corporation.
     
  3. sag38

    sag38
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    I served a church that had a couple of trusts with a significant amount of money. What a huge mistake!! Many of the folks seemed to love the trusts more than the Lord. Be careful about putting stipulations on monies given to the church in perpetuity.
     
  4. Thinkingstuff

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    If they wanted could they obtain more capital by selling shares publically? And are they incorporated out of Hong Kong or Jacksonville or New Jersey?
     
  5. preachinjesus

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    We are an elder led church with congregational polity. When we started the church there was an intentional decision made to make sure it was its own entity that could, on occasion support other ministries. In our bylaws it is not legal, probably the wrong word, for the pastor or any senior staff position to own, operate, or direct a "for profit" ministry affiliated with any part of the church or its greater ministry.

    One of the difficulties is that there are a lot of ways to create corporations and businesses that are part of the larger church. You then have a temptation, because of the honest to build the ministry, to drive people into a consumer process. We think that is a bad temptation and have done our best to move away from that perspective.

    I can't speak for other churches. I don't want to condemn other churches. There are a great variety of ways to set up and support ministries of a larger church. Our context in America provides unparalleled freedoms that most in the world don't share. I am thankful for wise ministries who are open, transparent, and forthcoming with how they manage money.:thumbsup:
     
  6. Paul3144

    Paul3144
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    No. They are all non-stock corporations incorporated in Florida.
     
  7. Eagle

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    The Lord's church is a truly democratic entity. One man -- one vote. No pastor or deacon has more than one vote (tho admittedly in practice -- they have more sway -- which can be both good & bad). Business of the Lord's church is to be brought before the Lord's people, discussed orderly ("God is not the author of confusion"), and then acted on (voted, etc.). The fact that many think this process is tedious and/or fraught with pitfalls changes nothing. Grow mature Christians by teaching them how they oughtest to behave in the church of the Living God.

    The keys of authority, the power to loosen & bind that which is already being loosed and bound in heaven, are given to Christ's church, which is obviously made up of it's membership "en toto," meaning ALL the members -- not a select few. The very reasoning for everyone voting is by-passed when delegating or allowing a few to make these decisions.

    Seems to me.
     
  8. Thinkingstuff

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    So if it doesn't have shares it must be a Limited Liability Company. Which brings up more questions. Does this church have multiple members and thus treated as a partnership? Or is it under one member and thus treated like a sole propietorship? I can see the advantage with liability however I'm wonder about the natural limited life of LLC being only about 30 years. How does this affect the church?
     
  9. Paul3144

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    It's not an LLC; it is a non-stock corporation. All members of the church are members of the corporation. (The church is the corporation, but I couldn't think of a better way to word that.) The other corporations besides the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc. have the Church as their sole member.
     
  10. Thinkingstuff

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    I'm not really familiar with Non-Profits however it seems the only reason to obtain a Not for profit non stock corporation is to have liability protection and to avoid certain taxations that for profit entities have. However, these can be just as easily dealt with by other corporate organization. Does Florida have annual fees associated with this?
     

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