2021 Top 25 Legal Questions

Last year our Legal Assist team received 2,343 questions from ministries around the country, covering a range of issues from child protection to activity participation agreements. Below are the 25 Most Clicked Legal FAQs for ministries in 2021.

Numbers indicate yearly pageviews as of 12/31/21. Numbers in parentheses indicate page ranking for that year.

  Question 2021 2020 2019

1

Can Ministries Require Coronavirus Vaccines for Attendees?

5,921 (1)

N/A

N/A

2

Do we have to report all injuries, even those that are insignificant?

5,802 (2)

2,697 (3)

1,209 (4)

3

Does our ministry need to obtain a special permit before serving or selling food?

4,159 (3)

3,026 (2)

909 (6)

4

Are ministries allowed to remove disruptive people?

4,025 (4)

4,267 (1)

2,018 (2)

5

What should ministry leaders know about donor-directed donations?

2,462 (5)

2,027 (6)

893 (7)

6

What does the Boy Scout bankruptcy mean for churches?

1,903 (6)

1,848 (7)

N/A

7

Does our ministry need permission to use people’s pictures?

1,743 (7)

1,512 (8)

847 (8)

8

Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to our ministry?

1,497 (8)

2,274 (4)

2,275 (1)

9

What are the potential tax ramifications for leasing ministry parking lots to outside entities?

1,074 (9)

962 (10)

350 (18)

10

As a church board member, what issues should I be aware of?

1,023 (10)

561 (17)

264 (21)

11

Are clergy members required to sign marriage licenses?

967 (11)

688 (15)

N/A

12

How do we protect against liability related to youth/special needs activities?

863 (12)

2,180 (5)

351 (17)

13

Can Ministry Employers Require the Coronavirus Vaccine?

857 (13)

N/A

N/A

14

What should our church do when a background check turns up a criminal record?

800 (14)

492 (20)

305 (19)

15

What if children in our ministry’s care are not immunized?

792 (15)

579 (16)

958 (5)

16

How can our ministry identify an independent contractor for tax purposes?

787 (16)

549 (18)

369 (15)

17

Should our church have armed security guards?

760 (17)

1,149 (9)

1,224 (3)

18

Does our ministry need an employer identification number (EIN)?

688 (18)

886 (11)

632 (11)

19

What risk management issues are associated with lending our church facility?

610 (19)

538 (19)

449 (12)

20

What Should Ministry Personnel Know About Mandatory Reporting Requirements?

571 (20)

411 (24)

379 (14)

21

What should our ministry know about bylaws?

564 (21)

739 (13)

636 (10)

22

What is an activity participation agreement?

556 (22)

479 (21)

293 (20)

23

What rules apply when hiring youth to perform work for our ministry?

544 (23)

306 (29)

54 (63)

24

Should we allow a registered sex offender to attend our church?

447 (24)

381 (25)

221 (24)

25

What should our ministry be aware of before recording conversations?

447 (25)

338 (26)

63 (57)

Legal Assist is a free service for all ministries, whether they’re a customer or not. Our in-house team of attorneys is ready to provide the risk management guidance you’re looking for - just click on the Legal Assist tab above.*

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.

 


2021 Top 25 Safety Library Topics

In addition to the most clicked legal topics, we’ve also compiled a list of the 25 most visited articles and resources in our Safety Library for ministries in 2021. 

Numbers indicate yearly pageviews as of 12/31/21. Numbers in parentheses indicate page ranking for that year.

  Article / Resource Page 2021

1

5 Steps to Starting a New Ministry

13,922

2

Mandated Reporting Not Limited to Child Abuse

10,616

3

The Equality Act's Potential Impact on Christian Organizations

8,010

4

Sex Offenders – Allowed to Attend Church?

5,724

5

Six Tips for Resolving Conflict in the Church

4,885

6

Incorporating Your Church: Why and How?

4,517

7

COVID-19 Vaccine Basics

4,448

8

Complying with Copyright Laws

4,138

9

COVID-19 Relief Act, Round Two Highlights

3,818

10

Make Sure Church and School Bus and Van Drivers are Up to Licensing Standards

3,772

11

Are gifts to ministry workers taxed?

3,724

12

Records Retention for Ministries

3,497

13

Catalytic Converter Theft - Defend Your Vehicles

3,327

14

Lending Church Facilities: Facility Use Agreements

3,185

15

Some – Not All – Ministrires Are Subject to HIPAA Requirements

3,047

16

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Resources for Ministries

2,969

17

Trust but Verify – Defeating Cyber Criminals

2,865

18

Legal Guidelines for Photo and Video Use

2,821

19

Can a Ministry or Charity Lose its Tax-Exempt Status?

2,812

20

Licensing Standards for Church Bus and Van Drivers

2,389

21

Planning a Low Risk Festive Fall Event

2,200

22

Surveillance Cameras at Church

2,173

23

Unrelated Business Income and How it Affects Your Ministry

2,091

24

Retention Ponds: Attractions or Liabilities?

2,070

25

Vaccinations: Responding to Religious Exemption Requests from Attendees

2,058

*The information provided via the articles and resources in our Safety Library is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.