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Category Archives: Church Trusts-

A Praying Police Officer and A Declining Church

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 – KJV)

Police-CopSean was a law enforcement officer in Clovis New Mexico for 8 ½ years. Central Christian Church in Clovis was for many years the largest Christian Church in the State of New Mexico. However, even with its great buildings and dedication to spreading the Gospel, it declined to become a congregation of less than 50, mostly elderly members.

Over the years some of Sean’s patrols were during the lonely hours of midnight to 4:00 am. Occasionally he would find himself sitting in his patrol car in the large parking lot of Central Christian Church. Through his connections in the community, Sean became aware that Central Christian was a declining church, so he began praying (as he sat in his patrol car) that God would do something special in that place “for His glory!”

Little did Sean know at that time that God was going to lay the burden on his heart to meet with the leaders of Central Christian and propose a building sharing arrangement between Central Christian and the young church he was attending – but that’s exactly what happened. The result was an agreement between the two churches which resulted in the complete refurbishing of Central’s building.

There is new carpet in the sanctuary and new chairs have replaced the old pews. There is a new sound and lighting system. New air conditioning and heating units serve the sanctuary. And, even that parking lot where Sean prayed in his police car, in the dark of the night, has been refinished.

For more than a year the small group of faithful Central Christians met in the sanctuary at 9:00 am for their traditional worship service. Then, at 10:30 that same sanctuary was filled with more than 400 enthusiastic young adults and families praising God in their more contemporary fashion.

Then recently, the “young” church approached the older Central members with an offer to purchase the building, including an agreement to remodel the “fireside chapel” so Central would have a comfortable and beautiful place to continue worshipping each Lord’s-day.  And, the sale price was sufficiently generous to allow Central to establish a Church Planting Fund to assist in starting new Christian Churches in New Mexico for years to come.

Kairos Legacy Partners was pleased to assist in this Win-Win Kingdom story. Several years ago Central put its property in Trust with Kairos to protect the property and its value for future Kingdom benefit. When this “young” church approached Central, these mutually beneficial arrangements could be made without fear of any “takeover” or mishandling of assets – because the property was safely “in-trust.”

Today, there is a vibrant, thriving, dynamic congregation worshiping in the Central building. There is a blessed group of “older” Central Christians worshiping each Sunday in the fireside chapel. There are funds available for new church planting in New Mexico, and a gift was made by Central to the Kairos Benevolence Fund for use in meeting health and/or financial crises faced by aging Christian Church ministers and missionaries.

Yes, God had a plan for a police officer, a declining church, and His Kingdom – and God has a plan for your church too!

If your church is struggling and perhaps in doubt about its future, please contact us.

Kairos Legacy Partners is the voice of legacy serving Christ’s Kingdom by safeguarding church properties, re-deploying declining church assets, and empowering benevolence for faithful Kingdom servants.

Central CC – Clovis, NM

 

Clovis NMIt really is an amazing story of an elder and his church in Clovis. For many years Central Christian Church was the largest Christian Church and had the largest building of our churches in New Mexico. With its great building it still declined to become a congregation of less than 50. A few years ago most of the elders were abandoning ship.

Lewis Heisch was ready to do the same and had written out his resignation. He was
ready to turn it in that night when that afternoon, by God’s grace I, Errol Stepp, “happened by.” Lewis and I talked for most of an hour. I did not know his plan, but encouraged him as a leader in God’s church. Just a few months ago Lewis told me for the first time that he went home that afternoon and tore up his resignation.

God had plans and a calling on Lewis which he beautifully followed out. Through challenging times, including a ministerial change, he never lost hope. He learned that the church property could be put in trust with Kairos Legacy Partners, a division of Provision. With the other leaders they worked with David Pace, President to determine how this would work for them.

When the trust was approved by the congregation the church’s assets were secured for the use of Central Christian Church or their selected missions. They were secured from take over by any outside church group or their assets being mishandled by anyone.

The Lord has provided some continuing encouragement from the Christian Church Starters. Most of all, God brought Lanny Hemmings as their part-time minister. Lanny is gifted by the Lord in both worship and preaching, The congregation has found ways to minister to the James Bickley Elementary School down the street and host about 150 home schoolers once a week.

Meanwhile, God was growing an independent congregation in Clovis named The Vine. They were planning a building on land in NW Clovis, for further growth, and they needed a better facility than they were meeting in. They reached an agreement with Central which resulted in the complete refurbishing of Central’s building.

Now the parking lot is striped. There is new carpet in the sanctuary and new chairs have replaced pews for four hundred people. There are new sound and lighting systems. New air conditioning and heating units serve the sanctuary. For the future all improvements stay with the building. In addition Central receives a nice rental payment every month.

The Central people rejoice that the building is their place of worship. But they also
rejoice that The Vine fills the building with Christians every Lord’s day and is used by them
through the week. They also rejoice that a Spanish congregation meets there every Sunday
afternoon.

Lewis and the congregation have found that their building being in trust with Kairos has
enabled them to retain ownership as a Christian Church while allowing them to serve the
Kingdom of God in a larger way. Lewis Heisch will travel with me to meet with any
congregation who will consider placing their property in trust. A congregation really may deal
with their building and long term assets in kingdom advancing ways.

Article by Errol Stepp, Executive Director for Christian Church Starters

This article first appeared in a newsletter published by Christian Church Starters on July 6, 2015.

Saving Sacred Spaces with a Church Trust

IMG_0040Land and buildings owned by churches are valuable assets. They were intended for specific, God honoring, purposes. They were purchased with sacrificial gifts of God’s people. Today, the value of these assets totals in the hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of dollars.

So what happens to these valuable assets as churches journey through the various stages of their life cycle? If a church reaches a plateau or finds its attendance and finances declining, is there a safeguard in place to protect the church and its property from becoming the target of (1) a “hostile takeover” by an unacceptable “religious” group or unscrupulous business developer; or (2) an internal “coup” by a leader or small group of leaders who are not committed to the principles of the Restoration Movement?

Saving Sacred Spaces – is a program designed specifically to provide such a safety net for churchs. By placing church property in trust, church leaders can assure their congregation of a safe meeting place while they work on strategies and opportunities for returning to health. They can also assure the congregation that if a graceful ending of the church’s life cycle becomes reality those valuable assets will be distributed (per their instructions) for growing and dynamic ministries. A Sacred Space will be saved and Christ’s Kingdom will continue to be honored. 

How External Takeovers and Internal Coups Occur

  • A “multitude” of Independent Churches are looking for a place to call home.
  • At-risk churches provide a tempting environment for a “takeover” or a “coup.”
    • At-risk churches possess 3 very important factors that lead to a hostile takeover
      • High value and debt free
      • Attendance in decline
      • Churches that are autonomous
    • The hidden agenda behind an external takeover
      • Outside group will filter into the church little by little
      • They become voting members and leaders
      • They will ultimately call for a congregational meeting and a vote
    • The dynamics of an internal coup
      • Attendance declines and those who remain become tired and weary
      • Finances are a continual challenge
      • Long-term leaders gone, new leaders not connected to original vision for church
      • New leaders see “merger” or “union” with non-Restoration Movement group as an easy solution

 Is Your Church a Target?

  • Attendance that decreases to less than 100 people per Lord’s day
  • Less than 35 active families involved in the church
  • A congregation where there are less than seven dedicated, knowledgeable men who could assume the role of elder
  • Property that is valuable, but with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 50 percent

Protecting the Church

  • Sharpen Your Bylaws
    • Bylaws should contain 4 articles to identify:
      • Church
      • Membership
      • Requirements for membership
      • Dissolution procedures
    • WARNING – Bylaws can be easily amended – they do not provide as complete of protection as a Church Trust!

 Ultimate Protection and Benefit 

  • Ultimate Protection
    • Place church in trust with a non-profit ministry like Kairos Legacy Partners as trustee to hold title to property
  •  Ultimate Benefit
    • Grants local congregation full authority to conduct services and all other (non-real estate) business of the church as they always have, without fear of an internal Coup or external Takeover.
  • Assures church leaders and members that church assets will be distributed according to their instructions, should church eventually close 

Here’s just one example of how a Kingdom minded church looked beyond its own decline and found a way to be a Blessing to many… by placing its property in a Church Trust.

 First Christian Church of Santa Ana, CA

First Christian Church of Santa Ana was the mega church of its day and the community of Santa Ana the place to live in Orange County.  During the 70’s though, this community began to experience a drastic change in cultural demographics as a large contingent of Hispanics began moving into the area.  This similar picture was being seen in many of the once affluent communities throughout Orange County and as a result those who felt uncomfortable with this change, moved on to establish suburban communities to the south, while those who decided to remain took more drastic actions.

Right, wrong or indifferent, change affects us all in various ways but for FCC of Santa Ana they felt the need to protect their property from the changing demographics rather than embrace it, and the resulting mindset was to close their doors to what was happening around them in an effort to preserve what they had worked so hard to build.  As time passed, the attrition rate began to rise as people continued their exodus by leaving or dying, but no one coming in to replace them.

This, one time thriving mega church with 55,000sq.ft.of usable facility, was in dire straights and on their way to closing their doors when in August of 1997 the leadership decided to place their facility in trust to CDF.  During the next two years the church continued to decline in membership and spiral further into financial insecurity.

In September of 1999, First Christian Church of Santa Ana and CDF formulated a plan to put this church back into operation as a community church that would once more reach the people in its neighborhood.  The decision was made to ask a nationally known Hispanic minister to come to Santa Ana with his church and build a ministry that would not only meet the need of the neighboring community, but would also bring life back into the sparsely populated sanctuary and empty classrooms throughout the property.

CDF placed the church under direct management of the Director of Trust Properties to both manage the operations of the building and the relationship between the new church being started and the 4 small groups who already existed on the property.

Almost from the beginning of this process, Santa Ana College, which was located directly across the street, was calling the CDF office wanting to buy the property for “cash” as the property was in the path of their expansion plans for the college. Also from the beginning, CDF’s response was absolutely NOT; with a further indication that we would do whatever it takes to reestablish this ministry for the community.  We committed the next 3 years to fulfilling that promise as CDF, the new Hispanic ministry, and the existing groups at FCC worked side by side to rebuild the Santa Ana church.

Peter Drucker said this about plans, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”   Or it can be said this way, “The best made plans are only as good as the unity that supports it.”  The plan to succeed was set into motion but the struggle to maintain unity to the vision prevented the victory.

After 3 years of internal turmoil and failed attempts to fill the empty building throughout the week, the original members of FCC expressed their disappointment by asking CDF to intervene and come up with a final solution to this problem.

After much prayer and discussion, CDF proposed this plan to the leadership of the church; due to Santa Ana College’s insistence to buy the property and the increasing amount of cash they were willing to spend, 5.4 million, why not sell the property and use the proceeds of the sale to establish a fund whereby the fund would stay in place year after year and the interest off that amount would be used to plant new churches each year, every year until Jesus returns!  That way the legacy of the church could be passed on from church to church from generation to generation.  To that proposition the church said, “That’s a no brainer!”

The plans were made to sell the building; ample time was given for existing ministries to decide where they wanted to go or whether they even wanted to stay in operation.  There was a lot of sensitivity and care given to the preparations for demolishing this familiar icon of Santa Ana; stained glass windows were carefully removed and donated to the Santa Ana Historical Society, as was a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone of the Sanctuary in 1955 which possessed historical artifacts about the church of that day.  No stone was left unturned in providing a transition that was both dignified and respectful of the people of FCC of Santa Ana and the accomplishments that they had provided over the years and now would continue to provide into the future.

Today, more than 350 new churches would not exist were it not for the Church Planting Fund which was established by the proceeds of First Christian Church of Santa Ana, and has been added to over the years by Church Trust designations, Legacy Church gifts and direct contributions from individuals and organizations:

When is a Trust Terminated?

  • When the congregation determines that it no longer wants to continue as a congregation
  • In the unilateral opinion of the Trustee, the church is no longer serving as a Christian church under the New Testament restoration position tradition
  • When the property is liquidated
  • When the assets of property and of congregation are distributed to named beneficiaries in the trust document
    • Congregation at the time of setting up trust determines what charitable beneficiaries are to be recipients of final distribution of assets.

Bottom Line

The congregation has to have faith in the Trustee

Kairos Legacy Partners is a charitable organization which is dedicated to the principles of New Testament Christianity, and has a loyal determination to see that the church continues in its originally established position and purpose.

Protecting the Future with a Church Trust

Protecting assetsIt seemed like an innocent proposal. A struggling church was in need of a preacher and a young, energetic man who had a little preaching experience had started attending the church. He offered to preach, free of charge, and the church gladly accepted his offer.

Within just a few weeks the church started to grow — for the first time in years. There was a certain excitement, but at the same time there was a little trepidation amongst the long-time members of the church. They loved the fact that the church was growing, but something was amiss. The doctrine coming from the pulpit had a very different tone, something that was very dissimilar to the church’s historic roots.

The new people who had come were quickly gaining a strong leadership footing, placing their membership and securing a clear-cut voice for a “new direction” for the church. The long-time members of the church were feeling marginalized as they saw their church begin to turn a direction that made them uncomfortable and sad. Before they knew it a new leadership group had been voted into office and the long-time members had no voice.

Little did those long-time members know that they were the victims of a hostile church take-over. Those words almost seem oxymoronic. How could a group of Christians walk into an existing church and in a matter of just a few months simply take a building away from those who had invested their time, energy and money over a period of years? Unfortunately, for independent, autonomous churches it’s quite easy.

The young, energetic preacher had planned in advance to bring in these “new members” before he preached his first sermon. Over a period of time, those people, with whom he had already been working, placed their membership in the church, called for a congregational meeting and outvoted the existing leadership in order to take control of the property. That seems incomprehensible in a Christian environment, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not an unusual occurrence.

The good news in this case is that prior to the young preacher’s arrival the church in question had placed their property in a trust, indicating that they wanted the resources they had worked so hard to obtain for the work of Christ to be used the way they intended from the start. The new leadership group was shocked to discover that the property was actually owned by a trust and the terms of the trust indicated that their theological bent and leadership direction was out of line with the church’s historic roots.

The trustee of the trust, an independent not-for-profit organization selected by the original group, moved to fulfill the terms of the trust in order to carry out the original group’s long-term plan. The new group filed a lawsuit which wound its way through the courts and the trust was determined to be valid after thirteen years of legal maneuvering and a visit to the California Supreme Court.

At that point, the “new” group, which had been using the building rent-free for those thirteen years issued ‘anonymous’ death threats against the leaders of the not-for-profit trustee of the property in a last-ditch effort to retain control. Fortunately, those were idle threats and an eviction was ultimately carried out.

The happy ending to the story is that the property was made available to another church that shared the theological roots of the original group. That church traded their old, decrepit building for this newer, more functional building at no cost. The trustee sold the older building and used the proceeds to financially bless the ministries that had been designated as beneficiaries by the original group.

While it may be easy for a religious group to rationalize that a take-over of an existing church facility is mere kingdom redistribution, it’s actually a matter of stealing the blood, sweat and tears of Christians who, over a long period of time, built a ministry. Those people had hopes and dreams for how their resources would be used. To see those resources taken away and “redistributed” to entities with whom they would be opposed is a sad end to what was once a vital ministry.

Placing a church property in trust is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Trust in the trustee is critical. Will that trustee commit to carrying out the wishes of the group placing the property in trust? Does the trustee have the financial resources to care for the property if there is a period of time where the property has to be managed? Most importantly, as an organization, do they have the heart of Christ at their very core, sharing the convictions of the local church?

The story above began in 1982. Most of the members of the original group have passed from this life and have gone to their heavenly reward. But their work on this earth carries on. Thirty years have gone by, but a church building that was nearly stolen away in an unscrupulous manner is still being used to carry out the work of Christ by a dynamic, faithful church which shares the passions of that original group. Along the way ministries that had been supported by the original group received a financial blessing. Not all stories have a happy ending. Thankfully, this one does.

Article By Brad Dupray, Church Development Fund.

 

Bylaws may not Protect your Church Assets

bylawsKairos Legacy Partners encounters numerous situations where Church Assets are lost to Kingdom Service. First Christian Church is one of those stories where well intentioned Bylaws did not protect the facilities and furnishings from being lost to the ministry of Christ. While the Bylaws indicated that the closed church facilities should go to another 501(c)(3) organization, the remaining few chose to allow their building to be converted to a nonprofit art gallery.

Generally, there are three major reasons your Bylaws may not be sufficient to protect your Church Assets from loss in the event of a church closing.

  1. Your Bylaws Dissolution Clause may be circumvented. Frankly, if the church is not officially “closed” with the State, the Dissolution Clause is meaningless. It is possible for the assets of the church to be Steeplejacked, sold, and distributed while leaving the church corporation active. It is only when the corporation ceases to exist with the State that the Bylaws become binding on the distribution of the assets. If the assets are already gone, there is nothing for the Dissolution Clause to affect.
  1. Your Bylaws Dissolution Clause may be inadequate. Kairos consultants have read a lot of Bylaws. Often, in older churches, there is no provision for the distribution of assets in the event of a church closing. There is no Dissolution Clause in their Bylaws. Those churches that do have a Dissolution Clause in the Bylaws often have language that simply states that the assets are to be distributed to another 501(c)(3) organization. Unfortunately, the definition of a 501(c)(3) organization is not limited to churches. Under this definition, the church’s assets could be given to, or sold and distributed to, any charity organized for exempt purposes. Thus, First Christian Church is now an Art Gallery. But it could also be a temple, a mosque, a Planned Parenthood facility, etc.
  1. Your Bylaws can be changed. Every set of Bylaws contains language that stipulates how they can be amended or changed. While most Bylaws usually require a super-majority of voting members, 66% or 75%, for the amendment or change to be ratified, congregations that are declining are increasingly at risk. Why? Because the smaller the membership the fewer number of people it takes to make a change. A few people could make the decision to ignore the legacy of the church or violate its intent totally. Fewer numbers of people, often without Spiritual sophistication may be easily swayed by a charismatic or influential individual.

Kairos Legacy Partners can totally protect your church assets and insure that they are utilized for Kingdom purposes through our Saving Sacred Spaces Church Trust Program. Please contact us for more information to check the details on our website: www.kairoslegacypartners.org.

Article written by R. Paige Mathews, Kairos Legacy Partners. 

A Modern Trojan Horse

Trojan-Horse-300x239In Greek mythology, there is the story of the Trojan Horse, related to us in Homer’s Iliad. Paris was the son of Priam, the king of Troy. Paris was asked to judge a beauty contest between three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris chose Aphrodite because she promised him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife.

Soon after this, Paris visited Menelaus, the king of Sparta. There, Paris fell in love with Helen, the wife of Menelaus, the most beautiful of women. Helen fell in love with Paris and fled with him to Troy.

The Greeks swore vengeance on Paris and on Troy. The fitted out ships and sent out an expedition led by Menelaus, his brother Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses, and many other Greek heroes. They laid siege on the city of Troy for ten full years and could not take the city.

Finally, Ulysses had a great wooden horse built.

He hid a number of Greek soldiers inside the horse and left the horse outside the walls of Troy. The rest of the Greeks then pretended to sail away. The curious Trojans eventually dragged the horse inside the city walls, although Laocoon, priest of Poseidon, warned them against such actions by saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

That night the Greek soldiers crept out of the horse, opened the city gates and let the rest of the Greek forces into the city. The Greeks massacred the Trojan people and plundered and burned the city.

How Takeovers Occur

Our churches today, as locally autonomous units, are threatened by a modern Trojan Horse through a hostile takeover. The religious environment at the close of the twentieth century has witnessed numerous “independent” congregations of various theological persuasions meeting in a variety of temporary facilities.

Some of these have experience considerable success and may be enjoying attendances of several thousand per Lord’s Day. As they begin to search for property and facilities in their neighborhood, the find that the price is staggering.

Then they discover one of our churches, which already has property valued at perhaps a million dollars or even more. Attendance has declined there, and the group learns that his congregation os locally autonomous. This can begin an attempt at a hostile takeover. The church encourages one, two or three families to begin visiting this locally autonomous congregation.

As these visitors arrive on the scene, we welcome them with open arms. They tell us that have been looking for a New Testament church. They are assured that they have found what they are looking for.

Then we ask, “Do you know any other families in your congregation who might be interested in attending our services?” Their reply may be that there are several other families that are likewise dissatisfied. They come and place membership and become a part of our congregation.

The number grows, and soon they outnumber of membership of the local congregation. All the time we are unaware of their hidden agenda. A congregational meeting is called, a vote is taken, and the new group becomes the dominating force in the church without paying one dime for the property or the facilities.

There are numerous examples of this in California, but may I share just one to illustrate. One of our congregations who has property valued at approximately $1.5 million has declined in membership and attendance due to an ethnic change in the community. Their attendance had declined to approximately 30.

One day, a man walked in off the street and indicated that he heard that they were without a minister. He had some preaching experience and would be glad to preach for them for little or nothing in the way of remuneration.

Such an offer seemed to be impossible to refuse and so he was engaged to be the minister. Some of his friends started to attend. They invited others and the attendance and membership began to grow. The church began to pay him a reasonable salary.

Subsequently, the elders of the church discovered that his teaching was not in accordance with their usual doctrinal position. The minister was given the opportunity to enroll in one of our Bible colleges. He was told the church would pay his tuition if he would enroll in a class in theology. He replied that he know what his theology was that that there was no need to go to school.

Finally, the elders called him into their meeting and discussed his deviant doctrinal position. He as adamant in his refusal to comply with the traditional teachings of the church and the elders asked for his resignation. He said, “You cannot fire me. It will take a vote of the congregation. The congregation hired me and the congregation must fire me.”

He was confident that the new members who had come into the fellowship of the church would stand behind him, and that he would have little or no difficulty in winning a congregational vote. His personality had already offended a number of the new people in the congregation, however, and they did not vote for him. He lost the vote.

The leadership of the church gave him two month’s severance pay and dismissed him from the ministry. Three months later, he sued the church for unlawful dismissal and financial distress. It took five court hearings and more than $16,000 in legal fees for the courts to rule that a locally autonomous church had the right to hire and fire their own preacher.

During the process of dismissing the preacher, the chairman of the board called the congregation from which most of these people lad come. He inquired concerning their congregation’s plans for building a facility in the future. He was told that the congregation had no property, but they understood that a property on a certain street was going to be given to them. The street that was named was the street on which our congregation was located!

Unfortunately, the modus operandi is not always the same. In fact, in almost every case, the circumstances differ. The one thing that remains the same is that there is a concerted effort to move in, win a majority, and unseat the people who paid for the buildings and plowed years of their life into the congregation.

We have discovered a number of circumstances that spell danger for the local church:

Attendance that decreases to less than 100 per Lord’s day’
Less than 35 active families involved in the church;
An eldership of less than seven dedicated, knowledgeable men;
Property that is valuable, but with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 50 percent.
One of our congregations was threatened with a political power play. The community was circulated with flyers that indicated the church was being taken over by the antichrist. They claimed the leaders were simply pawns that were being used the devil himself.

The elected leaders of the church were desperately fearful that this political group would come in and take over the facilities. The matter was discussed with legal counsel. It was determined that the way to protect the property from this hostile takeover was by putting the property into a trust.

Protecting the Church

Before a trust is set up, however, steps may be taken to sharpen the bylaws of the local congregation. The bylaws should contain at least three articles to identify the church, its membership, and its requirements for membership.

In the bylaws, ordinarily amendments may be made to any article in the bylaws upon a two-thirds majority vote of the congregation. We would suggest that on the first three articles defining purpose and polity, it take a 90% vote of the congregation to change those articles.

Furthermore, we suggest that in the bylaws and any other legal documents of the church, there be inserted an article with reference to liquidation.

Every legal document of the church should contain a paragraph containing an arbitration clause. More and more corporations are going to arbitration rather than disputes being settled by the civil courts to determine proper settlement of irreconcilable differences.

For ultimate protection, the church may elect to put their property in trust, naming an outside trustee to hold title to the church’s property. This can be done without monetary consideration, granting the local congregation full authority to conduct services and any and all other business of the church as they always have.

The trust then may be terminated upon two conditions: 1) when the congregation determines that it no longer wants to continue as a congregation, and 2) when, in the unilateral opinion of the trustee, the church is no longer serving as a Christian church under the New Testament restoration position tradition.

At that time, the trust would be terminated, the property would be liquidated, and the assets of the congregation would be distributed to the named beneficiaries in the trust document. The congregation at the time of setting up the trust determines what charitable beneficiaries are to be the recipients of the final distribution of assets.

The major decision in setting up a trust is that the congregation has to have unlimited trust in the trustee. The trustee should be some charitable organization which is dedicated to the principles of New Testament Christianity, and who loyal determination is to see that the church continue in its originally established position and purpose.

Hidden agendas in many “independent” congregations are perfectly illustrated by the Trojan Horse of antiquity. Let’s be vigilant to assure that our curiosity does not invite the Trojan Horse into our congregations, to the destruction of that cause, which has been so dearly established and protected.

Reprinted with Permission: This article originally appeared in The Christian Standard, August 2, 1992, pages 12 -13. At the time, Ralph Dornette was the CEO of Church Development Fund of Fullerton, California. Mr. Dornette is now deceased.

Contact Kairosfor more information on Church Trusts, Legacy Churches, Ministry Assessments or the Kairos Benevolence Fund
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