Are you looking to bring your local community together in spiritual congress? Starting a church can be a challenging feat, but it’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Church attendance has been an important part of many American’s lives. It has provided Americans with a sense of community and a way to find solace through life’s challenges. Nevertheless, church attendance is down but you can be a part of turning this around.
So how do you get started? How do you ensure you can gather a congregation? What are the legal processes for starting a church?
This guide will show you how to start a church from scratch.
Let’s begin with writing your initial plan:
- Prepare Your Church Plan
First, you want to plan all your goals for your church. The primary goal is to spread the Gospel, but there are also other initiatives your church can implement. The church can provide guidance for the younger members of your community. It can help with offering after-school programs such as tutoring. The church can offer classes for college preparation.
If you live in an unsafe community, the church can be a refuge for those members looking to rehabilitate themselves. Once you’ve figured out your church goals, next is to decide upon the name.
The name you choose is up to you, but a usual method is to state the name of the community and the denomination. You want to make it clear as to which denomination you wish to attract. You also want to decide if you want your church to be traditional or modern.
- Garner A Congregation
Your next step is to see if you can garner a congregation for your church. You want to make sure you can have enough interested community members who would like to join your church.
This is also the time to invest in a great church directory software. Once the church gets established, you will use this software to create a directory to keep track of the congregation. This directory will serve as a “Yellow Pages” for the church members.
It’s best to keep a record of interested community members so that you can keep them abreast of all updates. Once the church gets established, you can use the directory to invite them in.
Once you garner enough interest in your church, you should start the fundraising process. Make sure you take the time to research how much you’ll need to start the church.
Fundraising is the first part of church planting and until you have the funds, you won’t be able to begin the process. You have to first consider how much the land will cost. Next, will you have to construct a church from scratch? Or can you purchase an existing building to convert it to a church? Perhaps your neighborhood has an abandoned church that you can buy and renovate.
Additional costs might include audio-visual equipment, pew benches, stained glass, an organ, Bibles, etc. It’s best to visit as many churches as possible to inquire how they raised their funds and how much they needed.
To get funds you should first reach out to the interested community members to solicit donations. You can also go to local businesses to ask if they wish to donate to your church.
You can also seek grants from religious organizations that help fund churches. You should also ask other church officials how they garnered funds to start their churches. If you are part of a denomination that has a governing authority — such as the Catholic Church, you can reach out to it for funding.
- Setting Up
Once you’ve raised the funds, you can begin the legal process for starting your church. The first step is to apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN).
This is a tax number required for your church. It also helps identify your church as an established organization. Once you receive your EIN you can then open your bank account.
Take your time to research which banks in your area have experience with working with churches. You should consider customer service, loan availability, and fee rates when vetting banks.
Once your bank account has been set up, you might want to set up online donation platforms. This can help you solicit donations after your church gets started. You can look at payment authorization services such as PayPal and Stripe for these donations.
Your next steps will be to apply for your Certificate of Formation. This is usually formed with your Secretary of State. It’s best to find an attorney to help you get this certificate. The attorney can also help you apply for your 501(c)(3) status.
Once this gets completed you have to draft your church bylaws. For this, you can use your attorney’s help, but you should also consult with other churches. See if you can read as many church bylaws as possible to help you draft your own.
- Find Your Team
Finally, you have to seek out your team for your church. The first person to find is the preacher. You want to consider what style of preaching the preacher will have and whether this aligns with your church goals. You might wish to have assistant preachers who can step in if the main preacher is ever unavailable.
If you want to have a choir, find a choirmaster who can recruit potential choir members. The choirmaster can also recruit an organ player or other musicians to accompany the choir.
You want to make sure you can always encourage the congregation to volunteer. You want the congregation to be more than just attendees. Encourage them to participate in cleaning, fundraising, recruiting, and other church activities.
That’s How to Start a Church From Scratch
Now that you know how to start a church from scratch you can begin the process. Make sure you spend your time visiting different churches to study them. This will help you determine how to best run your church.
Take your time to learn more tips for starting a church and how to run a church. We wish you the best in your endeavors.
You can find more tips on starting churches and other organizations on our website.