Protect Your Ministry

Times have changed. In a recent case out of Boston, a judge declared that a religious school unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual man when the school rescinded a job offer after finding out about his gay marriage. This decision reflects such a drastic shift in our courts and in our culture on the issue of marriage and sexuality, that churches and other Christian ministries can no longer be silent or noncommittal on this issue—nor should they be. The NCLL has for some time now strongly encouraged Bible-believing ministries to take a clear position on this issue and to do so by implementing policies that proactively address marriage and sexuality. Doing so will act as both a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of discrimination lawsuits and as a statement of their alignment with the Word of God in a society where it seems that almost anything goes.

While we at the NCLL don’t know what policies this particular school had in place at the time of this man’s hire, two of the most important policies that every religious organization should have, particularly in light of this incident, are the following: 

  1. Require all employees to sign an agreement prior to employment (and periodically throughout their tenure as employees) stating that they agree to abide by and be bound by the organization’s statement of faith (which should clearly state the ministry’s position on sexuality and marriage) and code of conduct; and
  2. Require and include ministerial-type activities within all current and new job descriptions at the ministry and put these job descriptions in writing. This is critically important, because religious organizations may legally discriminate in favor of their religious beliefs when hiring for “ministerial positions.” Thus, all job descriptions, whether for custodians, cafeteria workers, administrative assistants, or any other position in the ministry, should include such duties as leading staff devotions; praying with, witnessing to, or counseling visitors or persons attending ministry activities; or other types of “ministerial” activities that reflect the integral nature of the employee’s faith in his or her position. In light of this current case out of Boston, we highly recommend that every ministry revise its current job descriptions and requirements as soon as practically possible.

The NCLL has sample forms and policies available for churches and ministries that are partnering with us. Check out the benefits of partnering by clicking here, and contact us with any questions. We look forward to working with you and your ministry!