Church and Ministry General Counsel Forum


The Church and Ministry General Counsel Forum at the CLS National Conference is an opportunity for general counsel of Christ-centered churches and Christian ministries to interact and learn from each other. During this extended session, you’ll be an active participant, both sharing your legal challenges and hearing how your peers have addressed similar issues. Here you’ll find a friendly place to tell your stories and listen to the stories of other general counsel. Find out what works and doesn’t work, hear about both the successful things you can do in your ministry and what traps led to setbacks that you’ll want to avoid. And it’s a chance to create relationships with like-minded general counsel who could become both friends and resources in the future.

The Forum is open to general counsel of churches and ministries. It is also open to attorneys practicing in law firms who serve as general counsel for a church or ministry.

The Forum includes 1.5 hours of CLE. It will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday, October 11. Lunch will be provided. When you register for the conference you’ll be given the opportunity to select the Forum. There is an additional cost of $75.

Forum Leaders

H. Robert Showers, Owner, Simms Showers, LLP
Jack Straus, Chief Legal Officer, Pioneer Bible Translators
John Van Drunen, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

CLE Topics

Jack: Core Duties of the General Counsel. A look at both critical and everyday issues that in-house counsel should be addressing, plus some practical tips for being an effective in-house counsel.

Rob: Harassment

John: Five key ways to keep your ministry off the front page

Steve McFarland, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, World Vision - Lunch Speaker – “When Failure is Not an Option”

Small Group Break-out Sessions

  • Employment and religious liberty
  • International issues
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Risk management
  • Governance
  • Church group

Tentative Schedule

10:00 to 10:30 am          Sharing and introduction time

10:30 am to 12:15 pm   Large CLE session

12:15 to 1:00 pm            Lunch and speaker in the main room 

1:00 to 3:15 pm              Breakout groups 

3:15 to 4:00 pm              All together for a wrap up session