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Church Planting in the US: Getting Started Right

Church Planting in the US: Getting Started Right

To set up a church plant that can thrive for the long-term, you need to build a foundation for proper administration and financial management. You want to make sure your church plant is law-abiding, properly set up, and financially transparent–churches are especially accountable for having integrity in these areas!

CHURCH TECH PODCAST
Tithely media icon
TV
Modern Church leader
Category
Leadership
Publish date
August 19, 2023
Author
Tithe.ly

Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and decided to start a church plant. 

While this is certainly an exciting journey, it doesn’t come without logistical challenges. 

Whether you’re a current church leader, church staff member, or a layperson with a passion to advance the Gospel, you may never have thought about the administrative side of church (or  maybe you have!)

In any case, to set up a church plant that can thrive for the long-term, you need to build a foundation for proper administration and financial management. You want to make sure your church plant is law-abiding, properly set up, and financially transparent–churches are especially accountable for having integrity in these areas!

In this article, we’ll talk about three core steps for setting up a new church plant. These steps may come before hiring staff, renting a facility, and setting up basic workflows. Once you have these pillars in place, you can shift gears and focus on what really matters–ministry to people and to God. 

3 Steps for Setting Up a New Church Plant

  1. File for 501C3 Status

Unlike a business or a for-profit organization, your church will be established as a non-profit. 

On researching this a little, you may be left asking the question: Should you file as a 501c3 or 501c4?

Because you will file as a religious organization, you’ll file as a 501c3–a tax-exempt status granted by the IRS that has two core benefits:

  • You can operate without paying federal income tax (but you will still need to file a tax return!)
  • Your donors can receive tax deductions for their contributions

To file for 501c3 status, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service. This process can take several months, so it is important to start well before you decide to launch!

Once the application is approved, you will receive a letter of determination from the IRS.

To learn more about what the IRS says about 501c3 status, check out this page

It's important to note that while 501c3 status has many benefits, it also comes with limitations. For example, a 501c3 organization cannot engage in political activities or endorse candidates for public office.

  1. Get an EIN for Your Church

Next, you’ll need an EIN, or an Employer Identification Number. 

This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify businesses, including churches. All churches need an EIN for tax purposes, such as filing taxes and opening a bank account.

To get an EIN, you’ll need to complete another application with the IRS. This can be done online, by fax, by mail, or by phone, and is typically a simple (and free) process. 

  1. Set Up Accounting 

Ah, accounting. 

It’s not the reason that most of us go into ministry!

But it is extremely important. Having proper accounting in place will help your church build a sustainable financial model and maintain financial integrity. 

Here are a few steps for setting up accounting for a new church plant:

  1. Think through your expenses for different parts of your church: including staff, operations, ministries, missions, benevolence, bills, software tools (such as online giving) and facilities. 
  2. Create a church budget for each aspect of operations. 
  3. Get a bank account. To learn more about making a good choice for your church, check out Best Banks for Churches
  4. Hire an accountant or a staff member who can handle your finances.

Finally, keep in mind that transparency in church finances is critical for building trust with members and donors. It is important to have systems in place for tracking income and expenses, and for providing regular financial reports. How you choose to disclose information to your congregation is up to you, but you’ll at least want a system that’s clear and accessible. 

Raising Money for Your New Church

Alright, you’ve set up a system for finances and accounting, chosen a location for your church plant, and mapped out a vision for long-term and short-term goals. 

Now, it’s important to be aware of some of the biggest challenges of planting a new church!

One of the biggest challenges of planting a new church is raising money. The church will need to rely on donations from members and other sources to cover expenses, such as rent, utilities, and salaries. One powerful tool you can use to raise money for larger projects is Tithely’s Pledge Campaign Tool

To learn more about how real churches have used this tool to accomplish God-sized goals, check out this incredible story: Canvas Church Raises $250k in 9 Weeks with Tithe.ly

Even more importantly than raising money for big one-off goals is having a long-term strategy for giving. This includes:

  • Using an online giving platform that makes giving easy and convenient
  • Teaching your congregation about financial stewardship and generosity 
  • Encouraging your church members to engage in recurring giving
  • And more

To learn more about how you can create a long-term strategy for growing generosity at your new church plant, check out our free Generosity Course–taught by our very own CEO and former pastor Dean Sweetman. 

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is church planting?

Church planting is the process of starting a new church. This can involve establishing a new congregation in a new location, or launching a new church community that meets the needs of a particular group of people.

Why is church planting important?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Church planting is important because it was commanded by Jesus! Starting a church in a new area allows you to reach entirely new communities with the message and the power of the Gospel. It can also revitalize an existing church community by giving individuals new opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. 

What are some common challenges of church planting?

Some common challenges of church planting include raising funds, finding a location for services, recruiting long-term volunteers, and developing ministries to meet the needs of the community. 

Church planting can also be emotionally and spiritually taxing. It usually involves building relationships with new people, working together on a new staff, and even navigating cultural differences. That being said, church planters should be wary of burnout, and make sure they get rest and refreshment on their days off (yes, they should have days off!)

What qualities should a church planter have?

Church planters should have a deep love for God and a passion for sharing the Gospel. They should also be healthy communicators and have developed conflict-resolution skills. To learn more about skills needed to church plant, check out What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

What resources are available to help with church planting?

There are many resources available to help with church planting, including training programs, coaching and mentorship, and funding opportunities. Many denominations and church networks already have established church planting programs that can provide guidance and support to new church plants.

How long does it take to establish a new church?

The time it takes to establish a new church can vary. If you’re launching a church in a community that’s already familiar with the Gospel, it may take a few months. If you’re plowing new ground in a place that’s “less churched,” it can take years! The important thing is to stay positive and resilient, and know that your obedience to God is the critical thing. Good luck!

AUTHOR

Tithely provides the tools you need to engage with your church online, stay connected, increase generosity, and simplify the lives of your staff.

With tools like text and email messaging, custom church apps and websites, church management software, digital giving, and so much more… it’s no wonder why over 37,000 churches in 50 countries trust Tithely to help run their church. 

Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and decided to start a church plant. 

While this is certainly an exciting journey, it doesn’t come without logistical challenges. 

Whether you’re a current church leader, church staff member, or a layperson with a passion to advance the Gospel, you may never have thought about the administrative side of church (or  maybe you have!)

In any case, to set up a church plant that can thrive for the long-term, you need to build a foundation for proper administration and financial management. You want to make sure your church plant is law-abiding, properly set up, and financially transparent–churches are especially accountable for having integrity in these areas!

In this article, we’ll talk about three core steps for setting up a new church plant. These steps may come before hiring staff, renting a facility, and setting up basic workflows. Once you have these pillars in place, you can shift gears and focus on what really matters–ministry to people and to God. 

3 Steps for Setting Up a New Church Plant

  1. File for 501C3 Status

Unlike a business or a for-profit organization, your church will be established as a non-profit. 

On researching this a little, you may be left asking the question: Should you file as a 501c3 or 501c4?

Because you will file as a religious organization, you’ll file as a 501c3–a tax-exempt status granted by the IRS that has two core benefits:

  • You can operate without paying federal income tax (but you will still need to file a tax return!)
  • Your donors can receive tax deductions for their contributions

To file for 501c3 status, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service. This process can take several months, so it is important to start well before you decide to launch!

Once the application is approved, you will receive a letter of determination from the IRS.

To learn more about what the IRS says about 501c3 status, check out this page

It's important to note that while 501c3 status has many benefits, it also comes with limitations. For example, a 501c3 organization cannot engage in political activities or endorse candidates for public office.

  1. Get an EIN for Your Church

Next, you’ll need an EIN, or an Employer Identification Number. 

This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify businesses, including churches. All churches need an EIN for tax purposes, such as filing taxes and opening a bank account.

To get an EIN, you’ll need to complete another application with the IRS. This can be done online, by fax, by mail, or by phone, and is typically a simple (and free) process. 

  1. Set Up Accounting 

Ah, accounting. 

It’s not the reason that most of us go into ministry!

But it is extremely important. Having proper accounting in place will help your church build a sustainable financial model and maintain financial integrity. 

Here are a few steps for setting up accounting for a new church plant:

  1. Think through your expenses for different parts of your church: including staff, operations, ministries, missions, benevolence, bills, software tools (such as online giving) and facilities. 
  2. Create a church budget for each aspect of operations. 
  3. Get a bank account. To learn more about making a good choice for your church, check out Best Banks for Churches
  4. Hire an accountant or a staff member who can handle your finances.

Finally, keep in mind that transparency in church finances is critical for building trust with members and donors. It is important to have systems in place for tracking income and expenses, and for providing regular financial reports. How you choose to disclose information to your congregation is up to you, but you’ll at least want a system that’s clear and accessible. 

Raising Money for Your New Church

Alright, you’ve set up a system for finances and accounting, chosen a location for your church plant, and mapped out a vision for long-term and short-term goals. 

Now, it’s important to be aware of some of the biggest challenges of planting a new church!

One of the biggest challenges of planting a new church is raising money. The church will need to rely on donations from members and other sources to cover expenses, such as rent, utilities, and salaries. One powerful tool you can use to raise money for larger projects is Tithely’s Pledge Campaign Tool

To learn more about how real churches have used this tool to accomplish God-sized goals, check out this incredible story: Canvas Church Raises $250k in 9 Weeks with Tithe.ly

Even more importantly than raising money for big one-off goals is having a long-term strategy for giving. This includes:

  • Using an online giving platform that makes giving easy and convenient
  • Teaching your congregation about financial stewardship and generosity 
  • Encouraging your church members to engage in recurring giving
  • And more

To learn more about how you can create a long-term strategy for growing generosity at your new church plant, check out our free Generosity Course–taught by our very own CEO and former pastor Dean Sweetman. 

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is church planting?

Church planting is the process of starting a new church. This can involve establishing a new congregation in a new location, or launching a new church community that meets the needs of a particular group of people.

Why is church planting important?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Church planting is important because it was commanded by Jesus! Starting a church in a new area allows you to reach entirely new communities with the message and the power of the Gospel. It can also revitalize an existing church community by giving individuals new opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. 

What are some common challenges of church planting?

Some common challenges of church planting include raising funds, finding a location for services, recruiting long-term volunteers, and developing ministries to meet the needs of the community. 

Church planting can also be emotionally and spiritually taxing. It usually involves building relationships with new people, working together on a new staff, and even navigating cultural differences. That being said, church planters should be wary of burnout, and make sure they get rest and refreshment on their days off (yes, they should have days off!)

What qualities should a church planter have?

Church planters should have a deep love for God and a passion for sharing the Gospel. They should also be healthy communicators and have developed conflict-resolution skills. To learn more about skills needed to church plant, check out What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

What resources are available to help with church planting?

There are many resources available to help with church planting, including training programs, coaching and mentorship, and funding opportunities. Many denominations and church networks already have established church planting programs that can provide guidance and support to new church plants.

How long does it take to establish a new church?

The time it takes to establish a new church can vary. If you’re launching a church in a community that’s already familiar with the Gospel, it may take a few months. If you’re plowing new ground in a place that’s “less churched,” it can take years! The important thing is to stay positive and resilient, and know that your obedience to God is the critical thing. Good luck!

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)
AUTHOR

Tithely provides the tools you need to engage with your church online, stay connected, increase generosity, and simplify the lives of your staff.

With tools like text and email messaging, custom church apps and websites, church management software, digital giving, and so much more… it’s no wonder why over 37,000 churches in 50 countries trust Tithely to help run their church. 

Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and decided to start a church plant. 

While this is certainly an exciting journey, it doesn’t come without logistical challenges. 

Whether you’re a current church leader, church staff member, or a layperson with a passion to advance the Gospel, you may never have thought about the administrative side of church (or  maybe you have!)

In any case, to set up a church plant that can thrive for the long-term, you need to build a foundation for proper administration and financial management. You want to make sure your church plant is law-abiding, properly set up, and financially transparent–churches are especially accountable for having integrity in these areas!

In this article, we’ll talk about three core steps for setting up a new church plant. These steps may come before hiring staff, renting a facility, and setting up basic workflows. Once you have these pillars in place, you can shift gears and focus on what really matters–ministry to people and to God. 

3 Steps for Setting Up a New Church Plant

  1. File for 501C3 Status

Unlike a business or a for-profit organization, your church will be established as a non-profit. 

On researching this a little, you may be left asking the question: Should you file as a 501c3 or 501c4?

Because you will file as a religious organization, you’ll file as a 501c3–a tax-exempt status granted by the IRS that has two core benefits:

  • You can operate without paying federal income tax (but you will still need to file a tax return!)
  • Your donors can receive tax deductions for their contributions

To file for 501c3 status, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service. This process can take several months, so it is important to start well before you decide to launch!

Once the application is approved, you will receive a letter of determination from the IRS.

To learn more about what the IRS says about 501c3 status, check out this page

It's important to note that while 501c3 status has many benefits, it also comes with limitations. For example, a 501c3 organization cannot engage in political activities or endorse candidates for public office.

  1. Get an EIN for Your Church

Next, you’ll need an EIN, or an Employer Identification Number. 

This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify businesses, including churches. All churches need an EIN for tax purposes, such as filing taxes and opening a bank account.

To get an EIN, you’ll need to complete another application with the IRS. This can be done online, by fax, by mail, or by phone, and is typically a simple (and free) process. 

  1. Set Up Accounting 

Ah, accounting. 

It’s not the reason that most of us go into ministry!

But it is extremely important. Having proper accounting in place will help your church build a sustainable financial model and maintain financial integrity. 

Here are a few steps for setting up accounting for a new church plant:

  1. Think through your expenses for different parts of your church: including staff, operations, ministries, missions, benevolence, bills, software tools (such as online giving) and facilities. 
  2. Create a church budget for each aspect of operations. 
  3. Get a bank account. To learn more about making a good choice for your church, check out Best Banks for Churches
  4. Hire an accountant or a staff member who can handle your finances.

Finally, keep in mind that transparency in church finances is critical for building trust with members and donors. It is important to have systems in place for tracking income and expenses, and for providing regular financial reports. How you choose to disclose information to your congregation is up to you, but you’ll at least want a system that’s clear and accessible. 

Raising Money for Your New Church

Alright, you’ve set up a system for finances and accounting, chosen a location for your church plant, and mapped out a vision for long-term and short-term goals. 

Now, it’s important to be aware of some of the biggest challenges of planting a new church!

One of the biggest challenges of planting a new church is raising money. The church will need to rely on donations from members and other sources to cover expenses, such as rent, utilities, and salaries. One powerful tool you can use to raise money for larger projects is Tithely’s Pledge Campaign Tool

To learn more about how real churches have used this tool to accomplish God-sized goals, check out this incredible story: Canvas Church Raises $250k in 9 Weeks with Tithe.ly

Even more importantly than raising money for big one-off goals is having a long-term strategy for giving. This includes:

  • Using an online giving platform that makes giving easy and convenient
  • Teaching your congregation about financial stewardship and generosity 
  • Encouraging your church members to engage in recurring giving
  • And more

To learn more about how you can create a long-term strategy for growing generosity at your new church plant, check out our free Generosity Course–taught by our very own CEO and former pastor Dean Sweetman. 

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is church planting?

Church planting is the process of starting a new church. This can involve establishing a new congregation in a new location, or launching a new church community that meets the needs of a particular group of people.

Why is church planting important?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Church planting is important because it was commanded by Jesus! Starting a church in a new area allows you to reach entirely new communities with the message and the power of the Gospel. It can also revitalize an existing church community by giving individuals new opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. 

What are some common challenges of church planting?

Some common challenges of church planting include raising funds, finding a location for services, recruiting long-term volunteers, and developing ministries to meet the needs of the community. 

Church planting can also be emotionally and spiritually taxing. It usually involves building relationships with new people, working together on a new staff, and even navigating cultural differences. That being said, church planters should be wary of burnout, and make sure they get rest and refreshment on their days off (yes, they should have days off!)

What qualities should a church planter have?

Church planters should have a deep love for God and a passion for sharing the Gospel. They should also be healthy communicators and have developed conflict-resolution skills. To learn more about skills needed to church plant, check out What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

What resources are available to help with church planting?

There are many resources available to help with church planting, including training programs, coaching and mentorship, and funding opportunities. Many denominations and church networks already have established church planting programs that can provide guidance and support to new church plants.

How long does it take to establish a new church?

The time it takes to establish a new church can vary. If you’re launching a church in a community that’s already familiar with the Gospel, it may take a few months. If you’re plowing new ground in a place that’s “less churched,” it can take years! The important thing is to stay positive and resilient, and know that your obedience to God is the critical thing. Good luck!

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

Congratulations! You’ve taken the leap and decided to start a church plant. 

While this is certainly an exciting journey, it doesn’t come without logistical challenges. 

Whether you’re a current church leader, church staff member, or a layperson with a passion to advance the Gospel, you may never have thought about the administrative side of church (or  maybe you have!)

In any case, to set up a church plant that can thrive for the long-term, you need to build a foundation for proper administration and financial management. You want to make sure your church plant is law-abiding, properly set up, and financially transparent–churches are especially accountable for having integrity in these areas!

In this article, we’ll talk about three core steps for setting up a new church plant. These steps may come before hiring staff, renting a facility, and setting up basic workflows. Once you have these pillars in place, you can shift gears and focus on what really matters–ministry to people and to God. 

3 Steps for Setting Up a New Church Plant

  1. File for 501C3 Status

Unlike a business or a for-profit organization, your church will be established as a non-profit. 

On researching this a little, you may be left asking the question: Should you file as a 501c3 or 501c4?

Because you will file as a religious organization, you’ll file as a 501c3–a tax-exempt status granted by the IRS that has two core benefits:

  • You can operate without paying federal income tax (but you will still need to file a tax return!)
  • Your donors can receive tax deductions for their contributions

To file for 501c3 status, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service. This process can take several months, so it is important to start well before you decide to launch!

Once the application is approved, you will receive a letter of determination from the IRS.

To learn more about what the IRS says about 501c3 status, check out this page

It's important to note that while 501c3 status has many benefits, it also comes with limitations. For example, a 501c3 organization cannot engage in political activities or endorse candidates for public office.

  1. Get an EIN for Your Church

Next, you’ll need an EIN, or an Employer Identification Number. 

This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify businesses, including churches. All churches need an EIN for tax purposes, such as filing taxes and opening a bank account.

To get an EIN, you’ll need to complete another application with the IRS. This can be done online, by fax, by mail, or by phone, and is typically a simple (and free) process. 

  1. Set Up Accounting 

Ah, accounting. 

It’s not the reason that most of us go into ministry!

But it is extremely important. Having proper accounting in place will help your church build a sustainable financial model and maintain financial integrity. 

Here are a few steps for setting up accounting for a new church plant:

  1. Think through your expenses for different parts of your church: including staff, operations, ministries, missions, benevolence, bills, software tools (such as online giving) and facilities. 
  2. Create a church budget for each aspect of operations. 
  3. Get a bank account. To learn more about making a good choice for your church, check out Best Banks for Churches
  4. Hire an accountant or a staff member who can handle your finances.

Finally, keep in mind that transparency in church finances is critical for building trust with members and donors. It is important to have systems in place for tracking income and expenses, and for providing regular financial reports. How you choose to disclose information to your congregation is up to you, but you’ll at least want a system that’s clear and accessible. 

Raising Money for Your New Church

Alright, you’ve set up a system for finances and accounting, chosen a location for your church plant, and mapped out a vision for long-term and short-term goals. 

Now, it’s important to be aware of some of the biggest challenges of planting a new church!

One of the biggest challenges of planting a new church is raising money. The church will need to rely on donations from members and other sources to cover expenses, such as rent, utilities, and salaries. One powerful tool you can use to raise money for larger projects is Tithely’s Pledge Campaign Tool

To learn more about how real churches have used this tool to accomplish God-sized goals, check out this incredible story: Canvas Church Raises $250k in 9 Weeks with Tithe.ly

Even more importantly than raising money for big one-off goals is having a long-term strategy for giving. This includes:

  • Using an online giving platform that makes giving easy and convenient
  • Teaching your congregation about financial stewardship and generosity 
  • Encouraging your church members to engage in recurring giving
  • And more

To learn more about how you can create a long-term strategy for growing generosity at your new church plant, check out our free Generosity Course–taught by our very own CEO and former pastor Dean Sweetman. 

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is church planting?

Church planting is the process of starting a new church. This can involve establishing a new congregation in a new location, or launching a new church community that meets the needs of a particular group of people.

Why is church planting important?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Church planting is important because it was commanded by Jesus! Starting a church in a new area allows you to reach entirely new communities with the message and the power of the Gospel. It can also revitalize an existing church community by giving individuals new opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. 

What are some common challenges of church planting?

Some common challenges of church planting include raising funds, finding a location for services, recruiting long-term volunteers, and developing ministries to meet the needs of the community. 

Church planting can also be emotionally and spiritually taxing. It usually involves building relationships with new people, working together on a new staff, and even navigating cultural differences. That being said, church planters should be wary of burnout, and make sure they get rest and refreshment on their days off (yes, they should have days off!)

What qualities should a church planter have?

Church planters should have a deep love for God and a passion for sharing the Gospel. They should also be healthy communicators and have developed conflict-resolution skills. To learn more about skills needed to church plant, check out What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

What resources are available to help with church planting?

There are many resources available to help with church planting, including training programs, coaching and mentorship, and funding opportunities. Many denominations and church networks already have established church planting programs that can provide guidance and support to new church plants.

How long does it take to establish a new church?

The time it takes to establish a new church can vary. If you’re launching a church in a community that’s already familiar with the Gospel, it may take a few months. If you’re plowing new ground in a place that’s “less churched,” it can take years! The important thing is to stay positive and resilient, and know that your obedience to God is the critical thing. Good luck!

AUTHOR

Tithely provides the tools you need to engage with your church online, stay connected, increase generosity, and simplify the lives of your staff.

With tools like text and email messaging, custom church apps and websites, church management software, digital giving, and so much more… it’s no wonder why over 37,000 churches in 50 countries trust Tithely to help run their church. 

Category
Leadership
Publish date
August 19, 2023
Author
Tithe.ly
Category

Church Planting in the US: Getting Started Right

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