Has God placed a calling on your heart to start a ministry? To do the work of God in a world that needs him more than ever is a noble undertaking. Don’t fret the initial steps and seemingly overwhelming tasks required to bring your calling into fruition. If you’re ready to get started but you’re unsure what it entails, here are a few important steps to start a nonprofit ministry.
File, File, File
There are several steps under the umbrella of filing and registration. Before jumping headfirst into these steps, consider hiring legal counsel to do so properly. This takes some weight off of your shoulders and ensures efficiency and accuracy. You’ll need to file articles of incorporation for legal liability. These forms require information about your ministry such as name, members, directors, effective date, etc. These will vary by state so be sure to do your research or hire a professional to do so on your behalf.
You’ll also need to file with the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax exemption. This will register your ministry as a charity. Filing information can be found on the IRS website or acquired by phone. The next step is to file with your individual state for tax-exempt status. Seek the counsel of your financial advisor to set the members of your board and create a bank account for your ministry. Be sure you present your board with a solid mission statement and bylaws, preferably those created under legal advisement. These steps are imperative to build a ministry on a firm foundation.
Get with the Times
Reach your congregation through technology. Create ways to stay in touch with every member of your ministry. Hire a manager to run your social media pages, allowing attendees to share experiences and reach out to others. Use these pages to inform new and existing attendees of service times, series titles, and upcoming events. Create an app with links to everything from general information to safe methods of tithing.
Sign up for p2p texting. This technology allows the leaders of your ministry to send out text blasts to all registered members while allowing individual responses. This keeps you in constant contact for important church updates, social events, prayer meetings, and more. Use your p2p texting to ask for prayer requests from the congregation in order to respond in real-time and provide comfort and guidance. A simple click of a button can easily become one of the most valuable pieces of technology in your ministry.
Bridge the Gap
A successful ministry is one that reaches all generations. From your elders to your nursery, each member is a part of the body of Christ in your church. Create a children’s ministry that will nurture and mentor the next generations of believers. Whether you have room for age-based classrooms or one center for all ages, do your research to determine the learning styles of each age group. Creat curriculum that takes the stories of Jesus from your new living translation bibles to the comprehension levels of a child.
Reach out to your members to ask for volunteers. Be open to all ages from preteens to seniors. The knowledge and nurturing of a senior church member can be the comfort needed in every stage from nursery to high school. Place middle schoolers in the toddler and pre-K rooms. Their energy will sustain them for chasing younger ones and will give them a sense of purpose to guide them in their own walks. Every generation serves a valuable purpose.
From the legal requirements to the joy of planning of children’s activities, each step to creating your nonprofit ministry is essential. Ask for help, seek advisement where needed, and prepare for the hills and valleys of doing Christ’s work. When you trust God through every season, your ministry is sure to thrive!