On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. After years of increasing tension with the British Government, the 13 colonies proclaimed their independence. This set into course the establishment of the United States of America, laying the groundwork for a new sovereign nation.
The same is true for every leader who feels the call to plant a church. You’re filled with vision for this new church, but where do you begin? Like these founding fathers, begin by articulating your vision with words. Like what they did with the Declaration of Independence, get your vision out of your head and onto paper. That way it’s clear to you, and to others that will follow you.
Along with encapsulating your vision, you’ll also benefit from developing formational documents that communicate the church’s purpose and guide how you will pursue its mission. For the founders of this nation, they developed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Those documents continue to shape how our nation functions today. Likewise, your church should develop foundational documents that will set the direction for your church and keep it from straying from its mission and vision.
At Passion for Planting, we love helping church planters develop these types of foundational documents. Whether you need Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, Doctrines, Belief Statements, or Ministry Strategy documents, we’re here to help. We have FREE templates and samples on our downloads page for these and we’ve highlighted a few in this month’s newsletter.
Establishing a new church isn’t easy, but we’re here to help you lay a solid foundation to build upon as God works in and through you. We hope you enjoy the newsletter!
-Dale Spaulding, Director
July 2020 – Contents
- Developing Bylaws
- Church Formation
- Articulating Your Vision
- Church planter Distance Residency Program
You probably didn’t answer the call to plant a church because you were itching to develop church bylaws, did you? Let’s face: it most church planters wouldn’t know where to begin if they had to create bylaws from scratch. But that’s OK. You’re not called to create bylaws. You’re called to make disciples.
If you cringe at the thought of creating bylaws for your church, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. With the help of our Bylaws Template, you and your overseers can develop bylaws grounded in God’s word. Our template will help align your church with the vision Christ gave us for His church in the New Testament. Don’t fret about the Bylaws. We’ve got your back!
Have you incorporated as a church? Incorporation isn’t required, but it does offer churches many benefits. One of those is the legal protection that it offers church leaders. Unfortunately, churches get sued from time to time. If a church isn’t incorporated, it’ll be the leaders’ homes and bank accounts on the line in a court of law.
Along with legal protection, incorporation also makes it easier for churches to open bank accounts, enter into contracts and buy property.
What do you need to do to incorporate? Visit your Secretary of State’s website (or in a few states, the Corporation Commission) and search for how to start a new nonprofit or religious entity.
In most states, you’ll file the document online. But be careful! Your state probably won’t require you to include the nonprofit language that the IRS will require for your later 501c3 filing, which is at least:
- a Purpose Clause that meets IRS standards
- a Dissolution Clause that conveys assets to another nonprofit
If you don’t know to include these, the IRS will make you file an amendment later.
Our Articles of Incorporation Template provides sample language for those clauses and other things you may want to include. Requirements vary from state to state, and how you word the IRS-required clauses should be specific to your church, so make sure to consult your attorney before filing.
We hope our template gets you started in the right direction!
What’s the difference between a church and a small group Bible study? Some churches start out as small group Bible studies, but when do they go from being a collection of people studying the Bible to being a church? Does it have something to do with the size of the group? Does it have something to do with where they meet? Does it have something to do with how they function and what they do together?
For a simple explanation of how churches can be started from a small group, check out Church: How Will We Form A Church? by Movements.net.
Articulating Your Vision
“Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.” We don’t know who first said that, but we agree with them. Words are a gift from God that allow us to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas and emotions. They can build people up and they can tear people down. Words united people to work towards a common vision and words divided people against each other.
As a leader, your words have influence. How are you using your words? Are you using them to cast a vision clear vision for where God is leading your church? Like Moses described the Promise Land as a land flowing with milk and honey, so you need to describe to your people you where God is directing your church.
If you need help making sense of where God is leading your church and how to articulate that vision, check out the resources our friend Will Mancini and his team at Auxano have developed for church leaders like you. One such resources is this video he shot a few years back. In it he describes five key questions you need to wrestle with when determining where God is leading your church and how to communicate that preferred future effectively. Watch the video and then start developing language that will help direct your church towards a common end.
Church Planter Distance Residency
If your church has a desire to multiply, you’ve probably looked for ways to get there. You don’t have the time or energy to create a church planter training program because you have an entire church to lead, right? That’s why we’ve developed our Church Planter Distance Residency. You raise up a leader; we at Passion for Planting will train them in the nuts and bolt of church planting while they stay in their local context.
Through this distance residency, prospective planters learn from national church planting leaders, network and build relationships with other planters, and develop contextualized strategies for planting a healthy, multiplying church. Learn more about this program. We are NOW taking applications for the Fall 2020 Cohort, so email us today to reserve your spot!