If you have a knack for pulling together groups of people and have an earnest desire to spread the word about your particular religious beliefs, learning how to start a church could be a worthwhile idea. This is especially true if you live in an area that has a limited number of churches. If so, chances are that many people are looking for alternatives to what is currently available. Learning how to start a church isn't particularly difficult – but amassing an authentic congregation can be. You can learn some basic pointers on how to start a church by checking out the following information.
Licensing and Training
In terms of training, the only thing you really need in order to start a church is a set of beliefs that you’d like to share with others. When you have a genuine desire to spread the word about your faith and convictions, learning how to start a church is relatively straightforward.
Working or volunteering for a different church can help, but it’s not going to be quite the same as running your own religious organization. After all, a different church is going to have a different set of beliefs.
The tricky thing about starting a church is making it legitimate. In order to enjoy the benefits of being recognized as a church, you’re going to have to form a non-profit organization.
The rules for doing so vary by state, so check with your state tax authority to find out what you need to do. Study up on the strict IRS rules for churches, too, so that you don’t run afoul of tax laws for 501c organizations. Check out the IRS website for more tax information for churches and religious organizations.
Keep in mind that your church must be founded by three people – who are not related by blood or by marriage – in order to accommodate the non-profit regulations of the IRS.
Key Success Factors
One of the biggest pitfalls involved in starting a new church is being treated like one by others. All too often, interested people misunderstand the purpose of a new church, mistaking it for a discussion group or some other thing.
From the get-go, then, make sure that your organization is always referred to as a “church.” Take care to correct people who mistakenly call it a discussion group or something else.
You should also get into the habit of soliciting donations right from the start. The funds that you accumulate can be used to print flyers and, down the road, to pay for a permanent location for your church.
There are a lot of churches out there. People who are already committed to a particular church probably won’t be very receptive to giving yours a try.
A huge part of learning how to start a church, though, is tracking down open-minded people. College campuses are often good places to find them; community centers are, too.
Just be careful not to alienate or anger people, and make sure that there aren’t any “no solicitation” rules involved in the places where you look for new parishioners.
Expanding Your Church
The most obvious expansion idea for any church is accruing new members. The larger the congregation, the more successful the church – at least, that’s how many people see it.
Way down the line, though, you could add programs like vacation bible school, day camps, daycare and other services for your members. You could also create a website and sell your preachings online.
An earnest desire to spread the word about your beliefs needs to be at the heart of everything that you do. As long as that’s the case, your expansion endeavors should go over quite well. Be true to your beliefs and your church will be a success – no matter what.