In the UK, churches are considered charitable organisations. Charities are typically run by trustees and committees. In response to this legal requirement many churches in the UK began to organise themselves in this way as though they were in fact charities, clubs or society. They sought to fit the church structure into the legal frame work laid down by the Charity Commission and Company’s House; in turn many churches made their legal trustees the spiritual leadership of the church.
Here at Hope! we believe that spiritual leadership in the life of the church should be structured according to biblical principles rather than charity law. We believe that spiritual leaders should lead the church; we believe that Directors and Trustees should fulfil their legal roles. We believe that charity and company law is there to provide legal protection just as spiritual leadership is there to provide leadership, direction and protection to the church.
When you think about it, it’s strange to let a legal structure that has only existed for a few hundred years determine the structure of an organisation that has existed for nearly 2000
years! In fact we believe that this legal structure should serve the biblical principles of church and facilitate and support spiritual structures empowering the church to be the church. With this in mind, we set about to determine a structure that would maintain, without doubt, the highest levels of accountability and absolute compliance with the Charity Commission and to satisfy our legal obligations to Company’s House without it becoming the determining factor in how the church is run and organised. Our church structure is built on biblical foundations, while our legal structure is designed to empower and facilitate our spiritual leadership structure to run the church as a church rather than as a club, society or company.