Church is important to people and communities. If you believe you can provide an unmet spiritual need in your community, you may want to start a church. You can start a church, but you should go through the process of incorporation to protect yourself and leaders. If you have the desire, your church will become a reality.
Generate support and secure a location. Perhaps you have been leading a Bible study in your home for the past year. Or maybe you want to expand an established church into Florida. If you have enough support and interest from others, you can start a church.
Rod Evans, a discipleship pastor for Church By The Glades in Coral Springs, Florida said you need a vision of what your purpose is and what you really want to accomplish. His church has about 10,000 members and recently moved to a new location in the western section of Coral Springs.
Evans said there are lots of independent and non-denominational churches in Florida and many established and traditional congregations in the sunshine state.
“You need people and finances,” said Evans. “You need a mission and a strong sense of what your purpose is. You should give this a lot of time and thought.”
Another important element is location. “Where is the church going to meet? You need to have a building where the congregation can meet and you need to get the word out about your church so people know you exist.”
Apply for a 501(c)(3) Non Profit determination with the IRS. Steve Valentino, in writing for LEGALDocumentsWeb.com stated, “Although to incorporate a church is frequently controversial, there are many advantages including limited liability to the priests and other members of the church committee, tax exemption status under IRS code section 501(c)(3), and other benefits such as lower postal rates on bulk mail.”
File Articles of Incorporation with the State’s Division of Corporations. You can get all necessary documents by going to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations website, Sunbiz.org.
The state of Florida filing fee is $70. To obtain a Certification of Incorporation, there is an extra charge of $8.75, as of July 2010. In Florida, three or more directors are required for a non-profit corporation, according to Joseph Rosen, owner of Quikform Services, Boca Raton.
Also, incorporation as a non-profit gains a church the benefits of tax exemption. “If you don’t incorporate, it will be hard for donors to donate to you because there is no corporate entity,” he said.