In the Bible, Jesus called Peter to be the rock that His church would be built upon. Ever since that day centuries ago, churches have been built throughout the world for all different walks of life. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more. If you feel called by faith to help spread the gospel to your community, you may be considering starting a church of your own. This is a noble, exciting goal, but it comes with responsibilities and requirements.
Starting a church looks different than starting a business. Your structure within the government is different and your goals, financially and socially, are based in faith and religion rather than a desire for profit. Even with these small differences, starting a church still requires hard work, dedication, and planning just like opening any business. As you begin your journey of opening a church in your community, follow this simple checklist to be sure you’re setting yourself up for success.
Know the Legalities
Starting a church organization comes with legal obligations. You’ll need to register your church with the government, meaning you’ll need an official name, mission statement, a board of directors, and Articles of Incorporation. You will operate like other nonprofits, meaning you need a FEIN number for your employee payroll as well as obtaining 501(C)(3) tax exemption status. Write up specific bylaws and have a detailed business plan. You’ll need established policies and plans right off the bat to successfully open your doors.
Similar to other nonprofits, churches rely on donations and tithes to do their work. So as you prepare to open your own church, have a fundraising plan. Sites like Engaging Networks aid new and established companies to increase their fundraising totals and reach a broader audience. With innovative online fundraising, you can raise more money to help you get your church up and running. The mission of the church calls its members to give and be generous with their finances, so you should be able to appeal to your congregation to help you raise the funds you need.
Once you’ve taken care of the big picture, you’ll also want to take a second to be sure the little details are secured. Churches require certain elements for weekly services and other meetings. Things like Bibles, Hymnals, communion elements, collars, and clergy shirts. You can find these items online for affordable prices. You have to look the part if you want to seem legit. So getting your uniform together as a member of the clergy is important. Don’t be so focused on other things that you forget the garments, crucifixes, or stoles you need to look the part.
Find a Leader
Speaking of church leaders, you need to be sure you have a charismatic, dedicated one to lead your church. Your pastor or preacher is at the heart of your church and it’s mission. Whether you have experience or you’re searching for someone, be sure you’re dedicated and excited to spread the word in new ways with a new community. This is a full-time job that will require a lot of energy and passion.
Find a Space
Next, you need a space to hold your services. While many churches build their own space, others rent from local businesses or buildings that are not in use on Sundays. This may be a more affordable option for you. The last thing you want is for the cost of running your building to get in the way of your mission to do good.
Build a Congregation
The Bible says, ”where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also“ (Matthew 18:20). The last step to building your church is to build your congregation. Get involved, market yourself to the community, host a kickoff, have an online presence. These are the steps you take when you’re ready to welcome people into the house of the Lord that you have built.