Known as church planting, starting a church in the state of Ohio involves time, patience and a lot of hard work. To start a church, you and the charter members must dedicate yourself to the time and effort that is required to successfully start a new church. In the state of Ohio, churches are considered Religious or Benevolent Associations rather than nonprofit.
Enlist members. When starting a new church you will need several members including a treasurer, leaders and teachers. Train the leaders and teachers as needed.
Meet with the members to establish church bylaws and determine which community needs the church will strive to meet. Determine the vision of the church including membership goals, mission goals, financial goals and evangelism goals. Members must also set and agree to a budget for the church.
Appoint trustees over any land or property that will be used by the church. According to the Ohio Revised Code 1715.29, three must be appointed. One must be approved by the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the church will be located. The second must be approved by the Probate Court in the same county. The third may be appointed by the members of the congregation. All three must appear in front of the probate judge who will supply certificates indicating their term length as trustees.
Apply for tax-exempt status under Ohio Code Section 5709.07 using form DTE 23 for any real property that will be owned by the church, either through purchase or donation. File form STEC B for exemption from sales and use taxes.
Apply for assistance from Ohio or national church planting organizations who assist with starting new churches. Some will assist with financial needs while others will assist with personnel needs. Check each organization's specific requirements to ensure you meet them and follow any post application procedures required once accepted.
Seek out donations from local sponsors. Donations can come from local organizations, host church members, personal contacts or members who are going to become a part of the new church.
Hire a pastor or go through a local church associational ministry to request an interim pastor while you look for a permanent pastor.
Plan church meeting times. Plan for worship days, mission days to go out into the community and attempt to reach new members, monthly business meetings and any other meetings deemed necessary for your church. Other meetings could include women’s study meetings, men’s bible groups or children’s programs.
Advertise in the local newspaper or use other advertising outlets to promote your new church. Inexpensive opportunities for advertising also include posting flyers around the city and advertising on social networking sites online. If you are planting a church with the assistance of a local church or church planting organization, include a brief write up for them to include in their newsletters and bulletins.
Items you will need
Legal form DTE 23
Legal form STEC B
Association application forms
Incorporation is not required for churches in Ohio. Under the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1716.02 annual registration is not required for religious organizations.