Church Financial Confidentiality Agreement


April 8, 2021

NDAs were once mainly used by technology companies. But their use is widespread in all kinds of organizations, including churches, ministries and Christian non-profit organizations – perhaps too often. According to Harvard Business Review, more than a third of U.S. employees are tied to their business by an NDA. During the process of boarding for a job in a Christian non-profit organization, I was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Are departments wrong to ask employees to sign an NOA? And is it wrong for Christians to attach themselves to such agreements? An NOA is usually one-sided or reciprocal. A mutual NOA is used when two or two parties are prevented from disclosing information about both parties. A unilateral NOA limits one of the signatories to disclose information about the other consenting party. This type is often found in employment contracts that contain a clause limiting the use and dissemination of confidential information held by the company. Church or ministry employees may have access to a wide range of confidential information, including the amount of individual members in Zehntzehn, how often the associate pastor consults the couple with his or her spouse. A degree of discretion is required for a local church or a non-profit Christian function to function biblically and effectively, so it is not unreasonable for ministries to agree to keep this information secret. The purpose of the agreement is to confirm the commitment of your church or organization to maintain and respect personal and/or private information within the organization, and this information must be kept in the personal file of the employee or volunteer. While NDAs can be of any length, most employment-related NDAs are rather short.

For example, an NDA for a church employee could be as follows: there is, however, some information that the NDA cannot prohibit. NDAs can never prevent an employee from assisting the government or law enforcement in official investigations or prohibit employees from formally reporting illegal behaviour. As Orly Lobel points out, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also overturns agreements that prohibit employees from charging or assisting the Equal Opportunity Commission or reviewing potential fees. Here is an example of how such a clause could be used.

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