Church Bylaws and Policy Help

Here, you will find a few thoughts on church bylaws and the need for revision.

Look here for sample bylaws to help you write or rewrite your church bylaws. These bylaws are not a substitute for legal counsel.


1. What does our minister do if he believes a child has been or is being abused? Call the local law enforcement immediately. State law lists ministers as mandatory reporters.

Alabama's Mandatory Reporting law: "All hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, doctors, physicians, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, nurses, school teachers and officials, peace officers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, social workers, day care workers or employees, mental health professionals, members of the clergy as defined in Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence, or any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to any child, when the child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect, shall be required to report, or cause a report to be made of the same, orally, either by telephone or direct communication immediately, followed by a written report, to a duly constituted authority."

2. Does Our Church Need to Revise Incorporation Documents? (Jim Swedenburg, ALSBOM)

The key date is 1984 (Code of Alabama 1975 Section 10A-3 et. Seq.).

The Code of Alabama was significantly revised in 1975. Almost all churches incorporated before that need to REVISE their incorporation documents. Prior to that most incorporations were “Simple Incorporations” for the purpose of borrowing money. If a church was incorporated before the Code of Alabama 1975, there are 4 articles which must be present in their articles of incorporation:

  1. Transfer of assets in the event of dissolution.
  2. The Registered Agent
  3. Trustees (of which there must always be at least three (3).
  4. Administration of church affairs SHOULD include “Title of property shall be vested in the name of the church” (never the trustees).

The law was revised again in 1984.

Most churches should just amend to replace (or revise) under the Code of Alabama 1975 Section 10A-3 et. Seq.Lawyer speak for Section 10A Chapter 3 and all subparagraphs. 

We STRONGLY RECOMMEND  10A-3 and NOT 10A-20 which offers few of the protections under 10A-3.