LGL6800EN - Legal & Ethical Faith Community Services

Course description

This graduate course focuses on having students creating a fictional community service plan and addressing all legal and ethical obligations that would apply. Students will draft an ethical code for the organization and create a business plan, and prepare a budget that could be presented to a fictional church congregation that would be sponsoring the community service.

How this course benefits students

Graduate level students need to have experience in creating a business plan that includes addressing budgetary, legal, and ethical considerations of an organization. Being on mission for God, and meeting the needs of God’s people necessitates that churches and faith-based groups find ways to reach out to their communities while complying with the law.

Why this course is important

Governments cannot meet the practical needs of all communities. Churches and other faith-based groups must step in the gap to feed and clothe the poor and, in so doing, will be a witness for Christ. It is critical that these organizations be above reproach and operate legally and ethically. The actions of a Christian are often a greater witness than words. Christ commands that His followers show His love in practical ways, yet also be subject to the rules of the government (laws and ethics). Graduate students will be expected to create an organization that meets all legal and ethical requirements.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Legal Services
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms*
  • 2021-05 (May 9, 2022 - July 3, 2022)
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Melinda Whitman, Esq., Senior Professor of Criminal Justice

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

In the New Testament, many of Christ’s teachings involve meeting the needs of widows, orphans, and the poor. Christians can meet these needs in a variety of ways through engaging with their communities.

Missionally driven

Faith groups provide community services all over the world and meet vital needs. Even in countries where proselytizing is not allowed, Christians can act out their faith by providing food, clothing, and other assistance. A missional student must be ready to engage in efforts designed to establish community services. In the graduate course students need to apply their knowledge in the creation of a community organization.

Contextually informed

Believers function in the temporal world, but should not be ruled by sin, instead always working to transform themselves into the image of Christ (John 17:14-15). Christians can work to transform themselves by showing the love of Christ in practical ways and demonstrating the love of Christ in their communities. This graduate course adds to the student's knowledge about business operations.

Interculturally focused

All countries rely on non-governmental, and faith-based organizations to meet the practical needs of people within their community. While the applicable laws may vary from country to country, all organizations must demonstrate that they operate ethically. Additionally, graduate students will focus on administration of the organizations and serving as a spokesperson.

Practically minded

This graduate course will provide students with the practical knowledge to create a faith-based community organization that complies with law and ethical guidelines.

Experientially transformed

Graduate students will be expected to volunteer in a local faith-based community organization to identify its operations. WIthout identifying those organizations, assignments will include having students provide a reflection on that experience, and any best practices identified.e By reviewing existing faith-based community services, students can identify what works and what does not.