As a church, we strive to be transparent in all that we do. We also seek to be good stewards of the resources that God has graciously given us. This fleshes itself out in a variety of ways in a variety of areas. For example, when it comes to finances, we make our financial data available online and regularly review and analyze monthly financial statements to direct the mission of our church.
Because the Lord has begun to bless us with more and more opportunities for resourcing, from books to albums to curriculum, we realized that we needed to set some guidelines and direction. And so we developed a new IP (intellectual property) policy that we wanted to make you aware of. The hope of this policy is to shepherd well not only our resources but also the hearts and minds of those involved in and impacted by our ministry.
The policy itself is simple. Each work is evaluated by the creator and an intellectual property committee, and all ownership options are discussed. When a work falls under the scope of a staff member’s job description, the church will become the owner of that work and hold the rights associated with it. The church will support the work, allowing the individual to use church time and resources in its creation. If leadership decides that a work does not fall under an employee’s job description, the decision will be documented in writing, and that individual will agree to complete the work with personal resources and on personal time.
To date we’ve had several encouraging IP meetings about projects, and the Lord has blessed those discussions with open hands and hearts of all involved. A few of our new resources include the books The Explicit Gospel and Creature of the Word and the albums Look and See and Raging Strong. That means that everyone who participated in these works turned over all rights to The Village. Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, Isaac Wimberley, Michael Bleecker and several others have in essence said, “We are doing this for the sake of His kingdom and under the direction of The Village,” thereby entrusting our church to steward the process and the financial benefits.
There have been and will continue to be other works where the decisions will be different. In these cases, the creator will still be doing the work for the sake of His kingdom, yet the individual will be entrusted to individually steward the opportunity and financial benefits.
Again, we’ve created this new IP policy to extend grace and freedom to staff members in future opportunities while helping protect the entire staff from division, idolatry and sin. We recognize that God has blessed us with many creative employees and an incredible reach, and we want to be good stewards of that reach in a generous, biblical manner. That is our heart and prayer.