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How to Start a Church: The Complete Guide

May 07, 2019

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The number of religious congregations in the United States has increased by almost 50,000 since 1998. Why is that?

One of the key reasons is the rise of nondenominational churches. Are you contemplating how to start a church? We outline all the major steps here. Read on.

Spend Time in Prayer

You'll never be able to accomplish anything magnificent without God's help. Starting a church with no members is not impossible for God.

Great power comes to those who make time to engage in meaningful and heartfelt prayer. And the guidance that will come from up above will lead you to the path that you should follow.

You might get insight into all manner of details from prayer. It will take great faith to learn how to start a church. And prayer is a crucial ingredient.

Define Your Church's Mission

There are numberless churches out there. Your next step is to figure out what your purpose is.

Create a mission statement that outlines what you believe and what value you bring to your community.

Then write down your goals, plan for the type of denomination you want and come up with a name. Once you have a name, register a domain name for your website and email address down the line.

There are many domain registrars out there that can hold and even build your website. Learn more about church web hosting.

Open A Bank Account

The next thing you should do is open a bank account in the church's name. That way you can start taking care of the financials.

Do your research and find a bank that is local and convenient. Make sure the monthly fees are low. When your church starts, you won't have much income and you don't want these fees to become a hardship.

You should also find out if there is a minimum balance you need to keep in the account at all times. You must be confident that you won't drop lower than that amount.

Some banks have minimum opening deposits to get a new account. You may want to shop around to see what different banks offer. One option may work much better for you.

While you are at it, you can think about loans. You might want to think about a loan to help you during the early days of starting a church.

Keep in mind that your bank is your partner. Look for a bank that supports your mission and shares your ideals. You don't want to work with a partner that doesn't.

If you're stumped, consider speaking to other local church leaders about who they bank with. They may give you the insight you need to make a decision.

Set Up a Donation Platform

The next financial project that you need to work on when starting a church is a way to collect donations.

No, this doesn't mean passing around a plate on Sunday mornings! You need a reliable (preferably online) way for donors, parishioners, and supporters to give.

Apply for a Certificate Of Formation

This certificate makes your church a legal entity operating under your chosen name. Most states require you to file this certificate with the Secretary of State.

Find out the specific laws for your state and then complete the paperwork.

Find a Place to Meet

Do you know what area of your city you want to establish your church? If not, prayer over a map and ask God to tell you where He needs you to go.

Remember, Proverbs 3:6 teaches us that if we acknowledge Him, He will direct our paths.

Of course, you'll want a beautiful, permanent location that can glorify God. But that might not be possible when your church starts.

You may need to meet in a home temporarily when you get started. Or you can look into low-cost rental locations near the place you want to establish your church. You can rent a hotel room or a building's basement, for example.

Hotels often let people pay week-by-week and might offer a discount if you plan to meet there every week. Other options include vacant retail or office space.

Recruit Ministry Leaders and Church Workers

As soon as you have the first set of logistics sorted out, you can begin to recruit staff.

You'll need ushers or greeters, children's workers for the Sunday School and Nursery. Don't forget to plan worship music too.

A full worship team from the beginning may not be possible. But a small group of core people can help you get started.

And that way you'll have people to run ideas by and who can help promote your church. Don't neglect free online and in-person advertising platforms. You are likely to find people who are interested in getting involved in church from the ground up.

Don't be in a hurry to hire people. Allow volunteers to take on important roles. The time may come for those volunteer positions to become paid jobs. But in the early days of your church, many good people are willing to volunteer.

Network to Find Members

Starting a church with no members means that you'll have your work cut out for you in getting people to join you.

There are dozens of ways that you can network to find those who are looking for exactly the church you've created.

Start with your core team. Have them reach out to friends and family. You can also host fundraising events to spread the word to your community.

You can consider sending invitation letters to your community. Yes, it's an old-fashioned way of reaching out, but it works!

Now is the time to create your website and social media pages and keep them current.

Final Thoughts on How to Start a Church

Thanks for reading! We hope this guide has given you ideas on how to start a church from scratch.

Remember, though your numbers may be few at first, as you strive to do your best, people will be drawn to your church and your work will be acceptable to God.

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