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Starting a ministry can be an exciting experience. It can also be frustrating at times. To be successful, you will need all of the information and support you can get. Before you decide to start a ministry, make sure your mate is supportive of your decision. If your marriage is not strong, chances are your efforts will not succeed. Starting a ministry takes a lot of time and energy, and specific steps can help you get started.
Find a support group. A support group or spiritual covering can be a local church or ministerial fellowship that wants to start a para-church organization. It can also be a smaller group within your local church. It's important that you have a support group for you and your family, especially in the beginning stages.
Determine your ministry's purpose. Finding your vision and purpose is the most important thing that you will do when starting a ministry. What are your goals? What group of people will your ministry target? Pray for God to guide you not only in finding your purpose, but also in selecting a name for your ministry. Incorporate your ministry focus into the name if possible. Check out the names of other ministries in the area to avoid duplication.
Incorporate and obtain 501(C)3 status with your state, if needed. Incorporation is not necessary, and there are some who think a ministry should not incorporate. But the benefits outweigh the negatives. If your ministry is under the covering of your local church or fellowship, incorporation will not be necessary.
Prepare your statement of faith. A clear statement of faith is an important part of any ministry. People will want to know what you believe and what your purpose is. Be prepared to give an answer when people ask not only what your ministry can do for them, but why you are doing it.
Find a place to meet. Often when people first start a ministry, they don't have a lot of money to spend on a meeting place. If your ministry is part of your local church, the pastor will usually allow your group to use the church's facility. Public schools and libraries also allow nonprofit groups to meet in any areas they have available. Be creative and pray about the meeting place God has for your new ministry.
Advertise as much as possible to let people know you are starting a ministry. Send out a support letter to obtain additional finances to cover advertising costs if necessary. Find and organize a core group of people to help promote the ministry. Make sure you saturate your area with fliers, bulletins and news releases.
Pray and ask God to bless your ministry and vision. Being courageous enough to start a ministry indicates that you really want to help others, and that is a good thing.
Kim Linton is a political analyst, computer technician and ministry advocate who has been writing for the Web since 2001. Her work has been featured on major news sites including "The Wall Street Journal" and "USA Today," and has been published on a variety of niche sites including "Woman's Day" and "Intel." Linton holds degrees in business and marketing from Indiana University.