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12-Point Checklist for Church Planters

By Christine Bove

Read time: 5 minutes

Church planting is one of the most empowering and exhausting experiences a person can go through. With high reward and high kingdom impact, planting a church is as exhilarating as it comes. Church planting is not without its challenges, however. Not wanting to leave any church planter in the dark, here is a 12-point checklist for you to use to start planting your church.

Your 12-Point Checklist for Church Planting

1. Establish your name and brand

One of the most important parts of the church planting process is solidifying your church name and brand. While this can be an overwhelming process, just think through the vision God has given to you. How can you translate that into your church’s name? Now, what would that look like? You can also hire professionals or get a trusted and talented volunteer to help you pull these details together.

If you’re looking for more help on establishing a brand for your ministry, check out the Church Branding ebook!

2. Establish and invite your board members 

This is a crucial step in getting your church started on a solid legal foundation. While each state has different requirements for who can be on your board and the number required, you can begin the process to assemble your board.

Continue reading about this topic on a previous blog post here.

3. Create your mission and vision statement

Now that you have your name picked out and you are assembling your board, you can dedicate more focus to crafting your mission and vision statement. Having a vision and mission statement provides clarity for decision-making within your church. It also gives people an idea of what you are about and your focus within the Kingdom. 

4. Assemble your church planting team

No leader should have to launch a church alone, nor do we recommend it. Your church planting team is going to be right there with you in the trenches, helping get your church launched. As we state within our Grow book series, Volume One, “A launch team is a group of individuals who believe in the vision that God has given you for the church plant and, in addition, those individuals play a vital role in seeing the church get started.” 

5. Begin skill training and team prayer

Not only is it important to establish your board members and assemble your church planting team, but you also need to invest in them. We recommend starting by investing in their skill sets and inviting them to pray alongside you for the church. 

Training can look like a number of options, depending on who is in your team, but going through leadership training, going through a book together, and seeking counsel are great ways to train your team.


It is also crucial to pray together as a team. You can have all of the leadership training in the world, but at the end of the day, it is God moving through you, your team, and your community that genuinely affects life change.

6. Draft and file your Articles of Incorporation

This is a two-fold process. Firstly, you begin by incorporating within your state. Secondly, you then file federally for your incorporation. It’s essential to know how each state incorporates churches and what is required to file federally. 

Once you go through the incorporation process, you will obtain your FEIN, a Federal Employer Identification Number. This is the equivalent of a social security card for an organization.

Continue reading about this topic on a previous blog post here.


7. Develop a launch budget

One of the most important processes you need to have established early on is a healthy launch budget. At the same time, it takes money to launch and build a team. Stewarding these finances matters the most. Establish your system for keeping church records and how you will record and track your church’s finances. Begin to think through processes and policies you will want to implement for you and your team.


8. Craft your bylaws

Outside of the Scriptures themselves, your bylaws are the next most important document for your church. Your bylaws will help guide you and your leadership in making decisions and protect your church from the constantly changing landscape of our country’s laws. 

Be intentional when crafting your bylaws; you want them completely tailored to your church.

Continue reading about this topic on a previous blog post here.

9. Establish your online presence

Imagine having access to your church 24/7, directly within your back pocket.

It’s amazing how we can connect with other people and share the transforming love and power of God through technology. We behoove you not to take this step lightly; having an online presence will help you establish credibility for your church plant while you are starting out and help it to grow. With having an online presence, you can also establish online giving, making it easier than ever for people to invest in the Kingdom of God.

We know you have a lot to handle with church planting, so we created an easy solution for you. With StartSITES, you can get your church online in as little as one hour! Click here to learn more.

10. Open your church’s bank account

Once you have completed your state and federal incorporation process, you can apply for your church’s bank account! Now you can connect your online giving and have it directly deposited into your church’s bank account. Keep in mind that every bank will be different in setting up your church’s bank account. At this point, if you do not have a completed 501(c)(3), you’ll apply for a business account and then later change it to a nonprofit account.

11. Obtain your 501(c)(3)

After the incorporation process, begin your 501(c)(3) process immediately. This status with the IRS allows your donations to be tax-deductible and grants you many more benefits. There is a window to complete this process, so be sure to start right away so your donors can receive their tax benefit, and your church can begin to receive its benefits! Our StartRIGHT Service can also help you obtain your 501(c)(3) status.

12. Find and solidify your location

With a lot of the legal foundation set up at this point, now find a location that best suits your vision and your community. You can host church in many creative places, such as movie theaters, schools, coffee shops, and more. Don’t let the lack of location be the reason you delay the meeting. If push comes to shove, you can always launch your church digitally before meeting at a physical location. 

Give us a call at 877-494-4655 to get your FREE launch calendar today!

Into the Unknown

Planting a church can have many question marks, too many to the point that it can turn overwhelming. But fear not! God has a plan for you and has set this dream within the depths of your soul for a reason. And remember this: God always provides for His agenda. You can count on Him to come through.

Surround yourself with a solid team and take the necessary steps to establish a sure foundation.  Our desire is to empower you to live out the calling God has placed on your life.

If you want more information with detailed steps for planting a church, check out our Church Planting Guide here.

To help you start the journey, we want to bless you with a free gift. Give us a call at 877-494-4655 or click the link below to schedule a call to get a FREE launch calendar today!


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