Did you know that there are more than 380,000 churches across the whole of the United States of America? There are many steps and even more considerations that you need to think about when you decide to open and run a church in your area. If you’re passionate about Christ and your ministry then you owe it to yourself to take a deep dive into how to start a church of your own.
Perhaps you’ve tried attending other churches in your area and you couldn’t find a good fit. Maybe you feel called by God to ministry. No matter what your reasons are, you need to navigate the path towards starting a church in the right way.
The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn about everything you need to think about when you’re considering opening a church. Keep reading to learn more today!
- Start With a Small Discussion Group About God
Churches are complicated to open if you don’t have a group of people that are willing to attend prior to you starting construction. A church is nothing without a following or a community to attend it and take in the word of God. You need to have a flock of people that are committed to attending and growing your ministry and your church if you’re planning to start a church of your own.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a few friends are enough to have a church. It is a good start, but you’ll need a much larger community to attend and help sustain your ministry if you want your new church to be a success. You also shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that a large group of spiritual people is enough to move forward with starting a church.
If you want to build a loyal following for your church then it is a good idea to have small discussion groups and prayer meetings. Try to attract people that have a common vision of Christian life and a common desire to grow themselves and your ministry. The most important part of starting a church is sharing your Christian vision with these like-minded individuals.
This is your perfect opportunity to hone your message to your followers and the people that attend your church. Determine what your church is all about and share the story of why your church exists. From there, find ways to make your church inviting to other people that are looking for a church to call home.
- Create a Launch Team
Once you have a loyal following of people that are dedicated to your vision of Christian life and ministry then you can move on to the next step of starting a church. This is where you start coming up with different ways where your small group of followers starts serving your church ministry.
In addition to becoming your first followers and disciples, they’re also the team of individuals that are going to dedicate time and energy to getting your church up and running for others to enjoy. You need people to become invested in your church if you plan to run a church in a successful manner.
Churches function as a type of business and you need a strong launch team to handle all of the roles and responsibilities of growing your church. They can start by helping to define the scope of your church as well as the best location for your church.
There are some hard questions that your launch team will need answers to in order to set your church up for the best chances for success. There are some things that could get overlooked, like getting the best insurance for churches. You also need to think about your target audience for your ministry.
Your launch team will also want to invest some serious time and energy into deciding which towns in your area to consider buying land for a church. Come up with a list of towns that meet most or all of your church’s needs. From there, do more research and start eliminating towns that aren’t the best fit for starting a church.
It is also important that you establish corporate officers and leaders for your church in order to start managing a church in an efficient way. You’ll need to determine who is going to govern your church once it is up and running.
The most difficult part of starting a church is coming up with a worthy name. There are a few different formulas that you can use for naming your church.
The most common naming formula is going with your church’s location combined with your doctrine of Christianity. Manchester United Methodist Church is a great example of this formula.
The other formula you should consider using is choosing a type of tree and a body of water. A name with this formula would look like Oak Pond Baptist Church.
- Make Your Church Legal
Most churches operate as non-profit entities which means that your church is exempt from paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. There are some things that your church needs to agree to in order to qualify as a non-profit organization.
First, your church can’t attempt to influence the legislation of the government and it cannot participate in campaign activities for political candidates that are seeking office. Any contributions that you get from your church members are also tax-deductible when you’re a non-profit organization.
Getting your church set up with the IRS as a non-profit organization is arguably the most important part of starting a church in the United States. Keep in mind that this journey is complex, so you should consider hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process of becoming a non-profit.
There are a number of lawyers that specialize in helping businesses or organizations achieve non-profit status. You should expect to pay around $1500 to $2500 for this service but it is well worth it in the long run.
- Consider Affiliation
There are a number of affiliations that you can choose from when you decide to start a church in your area. Once you’re done getting set up as a non-profit organization with the IRS you can start diving deeper into these affiliations. Start by looking into other church organizations that have a similar message and vision for the Christian faith.
You’ll gain a number of benefits if you choose to join an affiliation of churches and it will make opening a church much easier. You’ll gain significant economic benefits while also having a strong infrastructure to support you when you’re getting things started. The networking opportunities and chances of attracting new members are also strong with joining an affiliation of churches.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re on the brink of joining an affiliation is that you’re obligated to stick with their theology and their way of doing things. You won’t have the ability to make decisions on your own about how to run your church, as the governing body of the church affiliation has that power.
Ultimately, you need to choose a theology that resonates with what you believe in. Make sure that you’re aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each option when it comes to affiliation or remaining autonomous over your church’s operations.
- Focus On Growth
The next thing that you need to consider is how you’re going to keep your church growing once it is established and your doors are open to members. Starting the church is the easy part of this process. The difficult part is managing a church and helping it to continue growing.
Being organized with your church ministry is a great way to hold onto your existing members and attract new ones. Make it clear to people attending your church when the service starts and when the sermon begins. You should also be transparent about how many times each month communion will occur.
It is also a good idea to consider getting a reputable church management software program for running a church. These software programs will help you manage your church’s finances and accounts. It is also perfect for maintaining a database of your members and giving you an easy way to communicate with them.
Most of all, you want your church to be friendly to any and all people that come to experience your church services. Start by putting together some outreach events to attract new members. You can even offer incentives like prizes that they can win or free movie tickets.
Scheduling weekly events that aren’t church services is one of the most effective ways to get new members for your church.
Now You’re Ready to Start a Church
Choosing to start a church is an endeavor that you shouldn’t take lightly. It requires a lot of time, energy, and work to open and run a church. Make sure that you have a loyal following before you move on to starting a church and registering as a non-profit entity with the IRS.
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