Did you know there are close to 400,000 churches in America today?
Though COVID-19 saw many close their doors and some people say that religion is on its way out, odds are that if you reading this article, you know that’s not true. More people than ever are turning to religion and may even be considering starting their own church. You might see a community in need of the word of God and want to be the one to help them find it.
But do you know how to start a church? What are the steps you need to take? If you are just starting out, it may seem daunting. It may seem impossible.
But you know what they say about impossible things…
There are practical, easy-to-follow steps on starting a church. We’ve outlined some of the most important steps you need to take when thinking about starting a church.
1. Start Small
You might have some pastors that you admire and want to replicate. They might have thousands of followers and you might envision that type of church of your own.
But before you get there, you have to start small. Reach out to friends and family who might be interested and start having small discussion groups.
Starting small also means getting experience. You may think that the words will just flow and all you need to do to give a good sermon and get the crowd hyped is to let God speak through you.
But you need to practice. Practice preaching in front of small groups. Write down sermons beforehand. Practice, practice, practice.
2. Grow Your Team
The next step is to grow your team. You can’t do it all alone. You will need talented people around you that can help you out where you might be weaker. Get someone who is good at marketing or social media to help build your brand and create marketing materials. This person can be the key communicator to new members.
Hire a music director to lead worship and grow your band. It can be volunteer-based until you start to fundraise.
Speaking of fundraising, you will need to start making revenue. Make sure you have someone on your team that can take care of all the donations and keeps track of the accounting needs, especially as you start growing.
Surround yourself with good people and you will see your church thrive.
3. Figure Out How You Want to Structure Your Church Legally
A crucial, if somewhat boring, step is to figure out exactly how you want to structure your church. You will need to register your church with the IRS and this can be tricky if you go in without a plan.
Will you register for non-profit status? If so, you will need to have a Board of Directors, three of which are not related to you by marriage or blood.
You will need to define the scope and layout of the way you are organizing your church. What will the titles be? Will it have elected leaders or resemble more of a corporate structure?
If you fail to properly register your church, you can inadvertently be hit with a huge tax bill come April. Make sure all your legal ducks are in a row before you’re hit with an unexpected surprise.
You can always reach out to a corporate tax accountant or a lawyer to help advise on the best way to structure your church legally.
4. Grow Your Following
The next important step is to have a plan on you you expect to grow your following. You can’t just sit back and expect more people to flock to your church without putting in any effort.
You need to market your church, show value, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. Welcome each and every guest every time you preach, whether it’s twenty people or 200 people.
Provide value. Start small groups that provide a place for people to become more involved in your church. This will help make your church feel more like a home to them than other churches that don’t have small groups.
Hold events that get people excited and encourage them to bring friends. For every mass, make it interactive. Hand out notecards for them to write meaningful takeaways or bible verses you mention during your sermon. Get people involved.
Consider partnering with another church and guest-speak to their congregation. This can help promote your name and brand. People in the audience might know someone who lives near where your church is located and might recommend you to them.
5. Surround Yourself with the Right Tools
As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder. By using the right tools and surrounding yourself with the right people, you can make growing your church and running the day-to-day operations so much more smoothly.
One tool that is an absolute must-have is good church management software. Ultimately, in order to succeed, you will need to treat your church as if it is a business and a software platform can help you run your business successfully.
A church ministry software can help you organize finances, donations, payroll, membership, event organization, communications, and so much more. It makes keeping track of details super simple and makes record keeping a breeze.
Look for an all-in-one solution so you are not juggling multiple different platforms.
Want to Learn More About How to Start a Church?
Knowing how to start a church can help you avoid common mistakes and help your church gain more followers. It can also be the difference between your church closing its doors forever or expanding into new locations to preach the word of God.
If you are ready to begin your spiritual journey of starting a church, good luck. It can be an exciting and life-changing experience.
Curious about what else it takes to start a successful church? Be sure to follow along for more information. We cover all things religion, from the benefits of religion to different types of churches.