The Christian Church has contributed so much to life in this country we love – Aotearoa, New Zealand. A lot of that work is in the community among the poor and disadvantaged and goes unacknowledged and unknown today. Many organisations also have Christian roots from seeds planted long ago. The historical legacy and ongoing positive contribution is substantial. Yet there has not been a handbook focused on some of the key legal issues for churches here – until now.
Planting or running a church is not without challenges. The exciting prospect of facilitating the gathering of believers comes with a number of important considerations, many of which touch on complex areas of New Zealand Law. Having a properly established legal structure and system of governance, as well as an understanding of financial, employment, governance and key policy obligations will give a church the best chance at succeeding.
This handbook is one example of our “Impact Initiative” which aims to help church ‘planters’ and existing churches alike. Accordingly, the handbook is split into several key sections. We look first at the key legal decisions and considerations that need to be made when church planting, consider relevant aspects in the day to day operation of an established church, look at contentious issues and consider the future. Of course, even some long established churches may need to consider their own legal structure again (particularly if they start new initiatives) and consider if it is still the best model today. We have also included a section on social enterprise, which is a different concept on the role of trading business as a means to help advance good in the world.
As part of our impact initiative to empower people doing good, we have many other free resources that you may find helpful at www.parryfield.com. A unique offering is also seeds, a podcast about purpose with interviews of more than 100 charities, not for profits and social enterprises. In addition, we have released the free eBook ‘Social Enterprises in New Zealand: A Legal Handbook.’
We are trying to empower people like you to succeed and hope this publication will help you to consider and resolve any common legal issues and uncertainties you may find when establishing and operating your church. We wish you all the best in whatever stage of the journey you are at.
We look forward to connecting with you to see if there are ways our team can support yours.
Parry Field Lawyers
Christchurch & Hokitika