what are the steps to planting a church

What Are The Steps To Planting A Church: What Every Pastor Must Know When Starting A Church Plant

You have a heart for God and want to see His Kingdom advanced. One of the ways you feel called to do this is by planting a new church. But you may wonder, what are the steps to planting a church organization?


It is essential to understand the church planting process when seeking to plant churches and establish your non-profit status. If you want to plant a church, it is critical to not only find new church members but ensure you follow all of the laws.


In this blog post, we will walk through 10 critical steps for plantings churches. You will clearly understand what it takes to plant a thriving and healthy church by the end.

What Are The Top 10 Steps In Planting Churches?

Step 1: Pray Frequently And Receive A Vision From Holy Spirit


Prayer is an essential part of establishing a new church group. It is important to cultivate a strong relationship with God through prayer and spend ample time with Him.


Prayer should be done regularly and often to achieve spiritual victory and maintain a strong relationship with God. Here are some steps to help guide you in establishing a church with prayer:


  1. Spend time in the Word of God. Reading and studying the Bible for enjoyment and understanding is essential for spiritual growth. Take time to pray and worship, not just prepare for ministry.
  2. Engage in spiritual warfare. Set aside time to pray and stand in the gap for the spiritual welfare of your church. Satan will attempt to hinder the work of God. Prayer is the key to success in spiritual warfare.
  3. Encourage corporate prayer. Get others involved in praying for your church. There is great power released when believers come together in prayer.
  4. Pray continually. Spend time in prayer throughout the day. Present your requests to God in faith and thank Him for answered prayer.
  5. Spend time listening to Holy Spirit. Allow Holy Spirit to lead you in the direction He desires for you.  

By faithfully seeking God through prayer, you can build a church displaying His glory. Through prayer, you will be able to withstand the complex birthing process and will ultimately be rewarded with victory.


Step 2: Establish Church Planting Focus Group


To establish a church planting network, it is essential to first form a focus group. A focus group is a team of individuals who share a common interest or goal, such as establishing new churches.


These individuals could include pastors, church leaders, and interested community members passionate about reaching new people with the gospel. The focus group should meet regularly to discuss goals, strategies, and plans for establishing new churches in their area or region. 


This core group might also consider forming partnerships with other organizations or ministries with a similar focus. In addition to building relationships and sharing resources, the focus group can support and encourage those leading new church plants. 


Step 3: Develop A Church Planting Team That Clearly Understand The Vision


According to, between 3,500 and 4,000 churches shut down yearly for good, while a mere 1,100 to 1,500 new congregations emerge. When starting new churches, it is vital to ensure your church planting team understands the vision of God and to be open to the team members bringing their unique talents, skills, and perspectives to the table.


By being open and willing to listen to their input and ideas, you can build a stronger team and create a church that genuinely meets the local community’s needs. These individuals are not only part of a church planting team but will be their church’s new leaders and help bring new members.


God is calling not only you but He is also working through your ministry team lives to help establish His church and continue to disciple


Step 4: Choose The Legal Church Name and DBA


Choosing your church’s legal name and DBA can be daunting. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can ensure you and your church follow the proper legal requirements and use the name that best suits your church’s mission and purpose.


  • Step 1: Decide on a name. It’s a good idea to incorporate your ministry focus into the title. Try to avoid using names that are similar to the ones used by other churches in your area.
  • Step 2: Check the name’s availability. Log onto the Secretary of State’s website and see if your particular church’s name is available.
  • Step 3: Incorporate in the state. Incorporate in the state in which you are planning to plant your church. This process will vary from state to state, so you must research your state’s laws.
  • Step 5: Register with the State Department of Revenue if required. 
  • Step 6: Get licensed to perform marriage ceremonies. 
  • Step 7: Apply for Sales Tax Exemption. 


Step 5: Write Your Church Bylaws And Mission Statement


Writing church bylaws and mission statements before planting a nonprofit religious group can help ensure that the church’s founding members are on the same page about what it stands for and its goals. This can help with organization and providing the church is structured legally and efficiently.


Bylaws should clearly outline the organizational structure, the core beliefs of the community of people within the church, and the philosophy of the ministry. It can also help ensure that the church is eligible for tax-exempt status, as the mission statement needs to be able to be conveyed in specific, concise terms. 


Step 6: Obtain Your Tax ID EIN number


As a legal business entity, you are required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). The best way to apply is through the IRS website.


Step 7: Apply for 501(c)(3) status


Now that you have steps 1 through 6 completed, now is the time to apply for your 501(c) (3) status. When planting the church, your community will want to know you are a legally established nonprofit organization. Here are the steps:


  • Step 1: Complete the 501(c)(3) application.
  • Step 2: Request confirmation of your application by filling out the IRS’s 1023 form. This is a must for tax-exempt status.
  • Step 3: Once the IRS grants you 501(c)(3) status, your church will be an official tax-exempt entity.


Step 8: Establish Written Policies and Procedures For Religious Organizations


Establishing written policies and procedures is essential for any religious organization to ensure it operates efficiently, consistently, and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. By having written policies and procedures, the organization can provide clear guidance to its members, volunteers, and staff and prevent potential misunderstandings or conflicts that may arise.


Written policies and procedures can cover various topics, such as financial management, confidentiality, child protection, human resources management, and risk management. Additionally, having written policies and procedures promotes transparency and accountability, which can help build trust and credibility within the community.


Church insurance companies may want to review your articles of incorporation, bylaws, financial statements, and child protection manual before offing church insurance coverage. Our church insurance agents can provide a sample child safety policies and procedure manual for your leadership team to develop and incorporate into your new church.


It is essential for religious organizations to regularly review and update their policies and procedures to ensure they remain relevant and practical. The organization can mitigate risks, promote ethical behavior, and fulfill its mission while complying with legal and regulatory requirements. 


Step 9: Find a Commercial Space To Rent or Buy


Finding a suitable commercial space to rent or a church building to buy for your church is one of the last steps as you begin building His church. Depending on the initial size of your church plant may require additional space for Sunday school classes, a sanctuary, a fellowship hall, and a youth room.


You may only need a single 20 by 20 room for small church plants to get started. No matter the type of church, you’ll want to ensure enough space for members to attend church.  


Fortunately, there are a few key steps you can take to simplify the process and ensure success.


  • Step 1: Pray. Take some time to pray and ask God to guide you in the right direction. Ask Him to give you a clear vision and burden for the community and city you’re planting in.
  • Step 2: Research. Look at areas devoid of churches and begin narrowing down your search. Consult with other pastors already serving in the city or town to get a better idea of the needs and challenges of the area.
  • Step 3: Church Venue Space. Once you’ve identified a potential area, it’s time to look for venues. Ask yourself questions such as: Is it easily accessible? What’s the overall vibe? Does it have adequate parking and clean restrooms? Is there ample meeting space for both adults and kids? Consider factors such as kitchen space, lighting, and stage setup.
  • Step 4: Cost. The potential cost of setting up a church is a significant factor in your decision-making. This includes rental fees or church-building costs.
  • Step 5: Equipment. Make sure that the venue you choose meets your equipment requirements. Consider factors such as access, storage options, and any additional furnishings or equipment you may need.
  • Step 6: Logistics. Walkthrough the space and clarify any expectations with the building owner. Ensure you’re both on the same page regarding the cost, noise concerns, parking requirements, and use of the space.
  • Step 7: Branding. Once you’ve found a suitable space, it’s time to start branding your church. Consider factors such as logo design, business cards, websites, and social media accounts.
  • Step 8: Invitations. Finally, order invitations for your launch team to hand out to friends and neighbors. Create attractive door hangers to invite your neighbors to your launch service.


Step 10: Buy Church Insurance


Church insurance protects a church from potential liabilities and unforeseen accidents. With the proper religious insurance coverage, a church can protect itself from property damage, injury, and legal costs associated with negligent acts.


Furthermore, having the right insurance is crucial to setting up a church and meeting the requirements to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Without the proper church property insurance coverage, churches may be held liable for any damage or injury on their property, which could be costly and damaging to the church’s reputation.


Liability insurance for churches must include the following coverages:


  1. General Liability Insurance: This type of coverage protects the church from claims of bodily injury or property damage caused by church activities or operations.
  2. Church Property Insurance: Protects the church’s assets, such as buildings, equipment, and other property, from damage or loss due to natural disasters, theft, or other hazards. 
  3. Pastoral Professional Liability – Also known as Errors and Omissions insurance, this coverage protects the church and its leaders from negligence or professional misconduct claims.
  4. Directors and Officers Liability: This coverage protects the church’s board of directors, officers, and other leaders from claims of wrongful acts, errors, or omissions in their capacity as church leaders.
  5. Employment Practices Liability: Protects the church from wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related claims brought by employees or volunteers.
  6. Cyber Liability: Offers protection to the church from cyber risks such as data theft, cyber attack, or other forms of cyber liability. 
  7. Crime Insurance: Protects the church from losses due to theft, fraud, or other criminal acts committed by employees, volunteers, or outside criminals. Each coverage is essential for protecting the church from various risks and liabilities that can arise during its operations. 
  8. Abuse and Molestation Insurance: Protects the church from claims of abuse or molestation brought against it by any person in connection with activities sponsored by the church. 
  9. Religious Expression Insurance: Extends liability insurance coverage for a church’s long-held religious beliefs.
  10. Business Auto Insurance: Protects the church from any claims resulting from auto accidents involving vehicles owned or leased by the church.
  11. Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Churches: Provides employees and religious institutions financial protection in the event of a job-related injury.
  12. Health Insurance for Pastors: Employees and pastors need health insurance to stay healthy and financially secure.


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Managing Church Finances With Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks online for churches and nonprofit organizations is a great solution to manage their finances.  It will aid in filling your annual 990 reports and tracking your church budget.  


Save 30% for six months using our QuickBooks link for accounting and payroll services.  

Tips, Tricks, and Resources On How To Start Your Own Church Successfully

Starting a church may seem daunting, but with the proper guidance and knowledge, you can set up your church and make it a success. Here is a step-by-step guide to starting a church:


  1. Start a small discussion group: Gathering a small group of people with similar beliefs, who you can trust and who are committed to starting the church, can be the foundation of your church.
  2. Turn your small group into a launch team: This team can be responsible for the planning and logistics of the church.
  3. Start your church legally: Understand the laws and regulations governing the operation of a church in your state.
  4. Consider affiliation with a church multiplication network or denomination: Many churches are part of a larger network or denomination. 
  5. Grow by being excellent in love: Focus on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ by connecting with people in your community and showing love and kindness to those you encounter.
  6. Develop a statement of beliefs: Create a clear statement outlining the church’s values and mission.
  7. Create church bylaws: Establish a set of bylaws that defines the structure and governance of the church.
  8. Develop a church website: Create an online presence that allows visitors to learn more about your church, find information about upcoming events, access digital giving of church tithe, and contact the church.
  9. Host weekly services: Utilize the launch team’s efforts to develop weekly services that meet the congregation’s needs.
  10. Preach the Gospel: Finally, focus on developing and advancing your church’s mission of spreading the Gospel through evangelism.

Why Taking These Steps Is Important For Starting A New Church Plant

As a church planter, there are many moving parts to keep track of, and building your church planting team is no small task.  This is why it is critical to involve current senior pastors and work with existing people who are called to plant a church to glean from their experiences. 


Taking these steps is crucial for starting a new church plant as they lay the foundation for the future success of the church. It is essential to gather a team of devoted individuals who share the vision and are willing to work tirelessly to achieve it. 


This team will perform various functions such as fundraising, outreach, and community engagement. Identifying the location, target audience, and ministry approach that will best suit the community’s needs is vital.


Obtain Church Insurance For Your New Church Plant Ministry

If you’re planning on starting a new church, it’s crucial to obtain churches insurance to protect your ministry from unforeseen circumstances.


One reliable provider is Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, a Church Insurance Agency with years of experience providing church plant insurance programs. Our comprehensive insurance coverage protects you and your congregation from natural disasters, theft, and other liabilities. 


It’s also important to note that having church insurance is often a requirement for leasing or buying property for your congregation. At Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, our church insurance consultants are committed to guiding you in selecting the best church insurance coverage for your church plant ministry.


We will work with you to tailor a small church insurance program to your needs. Request a church insurance quote today by contacting us by phone or online.

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