How Should Your Church Treat Pastor Book Sales?

Q: The senior pastor of a church has written a book. This intellectual property is owned by the minister. The church does not sell the book, but it does generously promote the book on its website. On the one hand, the church benefits from the brand recognition in connection with the book. On the other hand, the minister benefits by the royalties received from book sales as a result of the church’s promotion. How should this matter be evaluated by the church?

A: The question is: Does the church or the minister receive most of the benefit and by how much? There is no clear answer to this question. To avoid the perception of the minister improperly benefiting from the church’s promotion of the book, the minister should pay the church an amount equal to the value of promoting the book.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.