In order to become a legal nonprofit religious corporation-church, it involves some critical fundamental steps. However the first thing you must do when you are organizing a church, and endeavoring to plant a new church is choose a board of directors.
You will need at least 2 men in addition to yourself , but 3 men would be better. Men that will share the oversight of this new work being created. Generally the senior pastor is the president of the board, with a secretary, financial officer, and an additional director. The board should meet quarterly at a minimum.
These men need to have the qualifications of elder described in 1 Timothy. Spiritually mature, wise, honest, and able to speak their mind freely to you. The board keeps you accountable, establishes policy, approves compensation, annual budgets, and any indebtedness.
I recommend at least one of the men be a pastor of another Calvary. These men will need to provide a short biography in a resume format for filing the organizational documents.
When these men are selected and they agree to be on the board, then the following documents must be created and filed:
- Application for a Federal tax ID number or FEIN. It requires the filing of an IRS form SS-4.
- It requires the filing of Articles of Incorporation in the state where you are planting the church. You need to find out what else needs to be filed in becoming a nonprofit in your state.
- It requires having bylaws that will in legal terms establish why the organization was formed, what is it going to do, and layout the guidelines for the directors of the corporation.Important Note:
- Basic articles of incorporation and bylaws are available from Calvary Admin Services for your review and modification.
- All of these official documents, once they are endorsed and approved, need to be kept in an official Corporation Binder. This binder needs to be kept in the church office of record. This binder is where the minutes of your board meetings are kept. Copies of the forms that are filed annually or bi-annually with the state are also kept in this binder.
- You will get an official determination letter from the state when you are approved.
- We recommend that you file for the federal determination (IRS 1023) within 16 months of starting the church and getting your state determination letter. This will involve large application and a fee to the IRS. The fee is
- $400 if your total revenues will not exceed $10,000 annually over a 4-year period.
- $850 if your total revenues will exceed $10,000 annually over a 4-year period.
- This application can take several months to get approved.
- Many cities now require churches to have a permit or license to operate in the city limits. They usually waive the annual fee for churches.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of what is involved in planting a new church, it will help you prepare initially for organizing administratively what is required.