Deer Hunting on Church Property?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by PeterM, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. PeterM

    PeterM
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    This may not be all that unique...

    I pastor a small country church in west Tennessee that owns around 15 acres of land, 13 of which are undeveloped. Since that church was planted many of the members have used the back 13 to hunt deer during hunting season. The neighbors of the church have asked the practice to cease, but I am beginning to get some resistence from a select few who believe and have said that they are entitled to hunt on the land because they are charter members, and of course some have threatened to leave.

    I certainly don't want this silly issue to divide the fellowship, but I also want the church to be the best neighbor possible.

    Any thoughts...?
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I found my "dear" on church property! :smilewinkgrin:

    Maybe if you knew specifically why the neighbors objected you could get the hunters to avoid that particular problem.
     
  3. Deacon

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    What's the purpose of a church?
    Fishing, not hunting!

    Be a witness to the neighbors.

    Years ago my pastor and his brother used to hunt in the back of the lot.
    It stopped when the neighbors complained.

    If the neighbors don't want people hunting, the matter should be settled.
    NO HUNTING!

    Rob
     
  4. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    I am assuming that the property is being hunted legaly. If not then you should stop it immedietly. If the neighbors concern is over the proximity of their homes or something like that you could suggest a weapons limit. I have friends that hunt inside the Atlanta city limits in Fulton County Georgia and do quite well, but they have to use bows. Most states limit the discharge of firearms within city limits or within 1000 feet of a residence. Don't know about Tennessee specifically.

    I think you have a bigger problem here if only certain "charter members" are allowed to hunt. You need to have a written policy about hunting on church property and you need to get this policy approved by your deacon board. With only 13 acres of land to work with there is not room for more than a couple of people at a time. You need some kind of program to select who gets to hunt that is impartial. Then you need specific rules including "absolutes" that will result in a lifetime hunting ban, things like hunting without a valid license or safety class or hunting while consuming alcohol.
     
  5. StefanM

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    Ahh... the curse of the "charter member."
     
  6. PeterM

    PeterM
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    Well... one of the concerns the neighbors has is his exotic animals. The neighbor has several camels, peacocks, and other species that if were unintentionally shot, could potentially bankrupt the church should a lawsuit be filed. Bellevue Baptist Church has used these animals in past Passion Plays. The property also backs into golf course which there the concern is obvious.

    I have been at this church for just one year (this month) and we have seen the Lord take the fellowship from the brink of demise to a relatively stable situation where we are just getting to a place where intentional outreach is possible. Within the community, the church is know for its dominance in church league sports and poor sportsmanship. It has also been a consumer driven mentality with little to no missions/evangelism/outreach emphasis. Needless to say the body is made up of several families that have all inter-married with very few "outsiders". I am not looking to turn this into anything bigger than it is, but I am sincere in my pursuit to ensure we are in a position to minister to our neighbors.

    Thanks...
     
  7. rbell

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    I could see one scenario in which this goes awry...

    "Hey, pastor, I have a question."

    "OK, shoot."


    *BANG*
    (thud)

    :D
     
  8. sag38

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    Satan will use any issue whatsoever to create division. But, this is a first for me. What's next?
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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    Sounds like the "town" has grown in on you. I'd go with a archery or shotguns only policy. 13 acres seems to small for safe rifle hunting.

    As for the "charter" members, go with the weapons limit first. Emphsis the the potential catastrophy if any one or thing gets damaged.

    If your church isn't incorporated, remind your leadership that they personally are on the hook as members of the partnership.

    Aslo , are they "tithing" their take. I'd think it appropriate to give the pastor\staff a portion.
     
    #9 Squire Robertsson, Aug 18, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2008
  10. tinytim

    tinytim
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    That was bad!!! funny, but bad!

    Deer me~
     
  11. rbell

    rbell
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    You know, this church might need a higher-caliber membership...

    sorry, I'll stop with the silliness.
     
  12. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I have heard of pastors preparing sermons called Saturday night specials...

    Seriously, our convention (WVBC) has a bow hunting retreat at our convention grounds in Ripley WV each fall... I know a few that go there..
    but it a large, large area of wooded land.

    I can't imagine more than a couple hunting on 13 acres... I can look out my front window and see 13 acres of bottom land.. And I wouldn't want 2 hunters hunting there...
     
  13. givengrace

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    Hey a church we are serving at (outside of Atlanta) Has done for years "Hunters for the Hungry" The Pastor is a Hunter. And next month the Men's Ministry is having a Wild Game night (and redneck truck contest) Some guy from some outdoor show (can you tell It's not my gig!) Is giving his testimony.
     
  14. EdSutton

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    These are just my opinions, but I'll offer them for free anyway, and they are 'legally' worth exactly what you are paying for them. Nonetheless, I suggest you consider them.

    First, I will assume this is being done legally, first off, as to any zoning regs. and such.

    Second, a local church (under any circumstances, in today's climate) needs to be incorporated, to shield any potential individual liability from the ministers, staff, individual members, various officers, and the trustees. The renewal of this cost our church a grand total of four bucks for the yearly update, to the Corporate Status.

    Third, the church need to have a goodly amount of liability insurance, as much is financially feasible, again in today's climate. Our church carries either a $500K or a mill policy, if I recall, correctly.

    Fourth, even if all the above apply, if the general feeling of a great number of church neighbors is strongly opposed to rifle hunting, I would probably suggest bow hunting only, as an alternative. If it is merely the one person who happens to oppose all hunting (as some do), or the one who is overly concerned about his expensive livestock, I woulds suggest getting together with him, and assuring him that, your insurance will cover any potential loss. Frankly, Belleview does not trump another local church, regardless of size, IMO.

    That said, and if all's well so far, well, "Ready to go, guys and gals?"

    [​IMG]


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    Yup! Looks like it!

    "Okay, ready or not, Bambi, Here we come!"

    Ed
     
    #14 EdSutton, Aug 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2008
  15. EdSutton

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    "Can we play, too? Please?? We want to be on Bambi's team!"

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ed
     

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