When a church ceases to meet, its dissolution process should already be detailed in the church’s articles of incorporation or bylaws, said Jim Swedenburg, director of the office of Cooperative Program and stewardship development for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).
Under Internal Revenue Service regulations, in order for a church to be a nonprofit organization and accept charitable contributions, it must have articles of incorporation and bylaws (a constitution could substitute as well). Those documents should have a section called “distribution of assets in the event of dissolution,” which should clearly state how the property would be handled in the event the church ceased to operate as a corporate entity, Swedenburg said.
Churches are prohibited from selling everything and dividing the money among members. So if there’s not a continuing ministry planned, the most common choice has been for the property to go to the local association, Swedenburg said. (continued…)
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