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Church: a family, a charity or both? What that means when giving gifts to members

Churches are relational places, often described as 'a family'. Churches in the UK are also normally structured as charities. Whilst for the most part these two church 'personas' overlap, there are times when a church acts primarily out of friendship and slips outside of its charitable purpose. This paper explores when that might happen; the potential consequences if it does; and offers a practical solution as to how it could be avoided.

Topics covered:

  • When might a church acting as a family not meet its requirements operating as a charity?
  • Where churches act primarily out of friendship, why might this be an issue?
  • Fellowship or hardship funds: An area of overlap or a potential problem?
  • Problem areas for churches where actions are motivated out of friendship;
  • A potential solution to help a church wanting to act out of friendship.


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