In this episode of Questions Church Planters Ask, host Danny Parmelee answers the question, “What the Heck Are Bylaws?”

Here are two important bylaw templates:

Template 1: For the New Church Plant (Illinois edition)

Template 2: For the Church a few years old (Illinois edition)

Here are the important sections to write carefully in your Bylaws:

Article 6. 3 Privileges of Directors.  The Directors shall have all of the powers necessary to direct and manage the affairs of the Church as are allowed by law.

This means that all legal decisions must have director approval. 

It also means that the board of directors are the only ones who can hire and fire the lead pastor.

Article 11.  Indemnification. 

Big word, but basically it means that if the directors of the church are caught up in some sort of lawsuit pertaining to the church,  They aren’t paying for it out of their own pocket.  Any wise director of a non-profit is going to make sure this article is in there. 

Article 12. 1 Right To Dissolve.  

The Directors of the Church, by affirmative vote, may dissolve the Church. 

Again, only the directors have the power to do this.  

Article 12.2  Disposition of Property upon Dissolution.

In other words, if this whole church plant thing goes belly up, where are the assets going to go? Yes, maybe there is a whole building that needs to be decided on. Or its just a trailer full of sound equipment and pipe and drape.  But just like when people die and fight over property when there isn’t a will, the same thing happens when church plants die and there isn’t a clear statement of how the property is disbursed.  

Article 13. Dispute Resolution

I pray you never have to reference article 13, but I remind you that the church is not only made up of a group of redeemed sinners, its also led by a redeemed sinner.  This article will help you to fight fairly.

Article 14.1  Right To Amend. 

The Directors of the Church, by affirmative vote, may amend these By-Laws at any time.