What the new overtime regulation means for your church-Updated 11/29/16
by John Litzler on November 29, 2016 in news
The new salary requirement for an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for overtime pay will not take effect December 1.
On November 22, a federal judge from Sherman, TX, issued an injunction halting the enforcement of a change to the "salary test" for an exemption to the FLSA rules for overtime pay. Currently, in order to satisfy the salary test a "white collar" employee must make $455 a week ($23,660 annually). That amount was set to increase to $913 a week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1. The district court ruling means that the salary test will not change, for the time being.
It is important for...
When God says go
by John Litzler on June 13, 2016 in ministers spouses
I kept repositioning myself in the seat. I’d never had a moment with my friend that I would consider uncomfortable, but I was practically squirming. There was no real point in burying the lead. “I need to talk to you about something,” I said. “I’m starting a new job in San Antonio. We are going to move down there.”
Saying it isn’t the hard part, really. I’ve had time to think, to process, to pray. The response is the difficult part. Friends are blindsided. They haven’t had the benefit of seeing how God has been orchestrating things for the past several months. Some had responded to the news with tears. The toughest responses were...
All Rights Reserved: Guidelines for Super Evangelism Sunday
by John Litzler on January 29, 2016 in feature
Sunday, February 7, the Denver Broncos will take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Super Bowl is not only the most watched sporting event in North America, it is the most watched television broadcast in America of any kind. According to Variety, last year's Super Bowl was the most watched television event in American history. Even those who don't regularly watch sports find interest in the halftime show or the creative advertisements that cost an immense $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Americans consume more food on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving. It's been...
Texas Supreme Court tells Houston that citizens have the right to vote
by John Litzler on July 30, 2015 in church law
The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Houston City Council to either repeal its Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by Aug. 24 or put the ordinance to a vote during the city's November election. HERO amended Houston's Code of Ordinances to prevent all residents of Houston from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Court stated that, "though the ordinance is steeped in controversy, the legal principles at play are relatively simple."
The Houston City Council passed HERO on May 28, 2014. Houstonians have the right to dispute any ordinance filed by the Houston City Council by submitting a referendum...
What the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling means for Texas churches
by John Litzler on June 26, 2015 in culture
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the 14th amendment. The decision, written by Justice Kennedy, reflects a remarkable reversal in public acceptance of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Texas. Texas must also recognize the validity of marriages performed in other states. The decision has had an immediate effect as some county clerk's offices are already reporting they are open and ready to provide same-sex marriage licenses.
While some celebrate the decision as a victory for equality, many churches have expressed concern about how the legalization of same-sex...
Child abuse is everyone's business
by John Litzler on June 24, 2015 in church office
Country singer Kacey Musgraves' single, "Biscuits," is gaining popularity. The message of the song can be summed up in the line that advises, "Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy." It's a catchy and clever restatement of the familiar idiom, "mind your own business."
In today's society, we've heard so many variations of this phrase that many people behave as though nothing that goes on in other people's lives is anyone else's business. When it comes to child abuse and neglect, the adage simply doesn't apply. Christians should be at the forefront in reminding society that child abuse and neglect are everyone's...
Legislature says “I Do” to Pastor Protection Act
by John Litzler on June 24, 2015 in church office
On June 11, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called Pastor Protection Act that protects religious organizations and their employees from performing or participating in marriages that conflict with "sincerely held religious beliefs." The Christian Life Commission and its director of public policy, Kathryn Freeman, worked with faith leaders throughout Texas during the 2015 legislative session to get this bill passed.
The law will be added to Section 1, Chapter 2 of the Texas Family Code and will take effect Sept.1, 2015. The bill is timely because it comes ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage later in...
Prepare your church for same-sex marriage ruling
by John Litzler on April 16, 2015 in culture
The U.S. Supreme Court is ready to consider the issue of same-sex marriage, and the court's eventual ruling could affect how the State of Texas defines marriage. If change occurs, it will affect the relationship of all Texas Baptist churches in their dealings with local, state, and federal laws.
The Christian Life Commission supports the biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for a lifetime commitment. This has been the marriage standard for Christians dating back two millennia, and reflects an even longer biblical heritage.
On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider cases from...
Guns in the Pews? Churches have the right to choose
by John Litzler on March 26, 2015 in church law
Beginning January 1, 2016, Texans with a handgun license will be allowed to openly carry their handguns. Churches in Texas may prevent handgun license holders from carrying handguns inside church buildings as long as the church gives proper notice. Each church may decide for itself whether to allow:
- Both open and concealed carry of handguns
- Concealed carry of handguns but not open carry
- Open carry of handguns and not concealed carry
- No handguns regardless of whether they are carried openly or concealed
A church does not need to take any action if it wishes to allow handgun license holders to conceal carry or open carry in church...
Good Legal Stewards
by John Litzler on February 23, 2015 in church law
Once my wife and I were engaged we decided to attend premarital counseling. Years later, my misconceptions about counseling are still prevalent in society. I viewed counseling as unnecessary for healthy relationships. Inaccurate images from television and movies caused me to believe I should only attend counseling if there was a problem. I could not have been more mistaken. My then fiancé and I had a wonderful relationship, but I was unaware of how little I knew about how to protect our relationship and keep it flourishing. Through premarital counseling, I was encouraged to think about aspects of our relationship I had never...