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02 Oct 2018

Are You Ready to Increase Your Impact by 93% Now?

Emma Corbett

“I just want to make an impact in the children and teenager’s lives around me in a huge way.”

This statement is from a conversation I had with one of our clients, Pastor Josh. His senior pastor has been one of our clients for years, and Pastor Josh called StartCHURCH to tell us about the vision God had given him to start a Christian school through his church. 

He believed that starting a Christian school was the next step for his church to reach more children and youth. He has been working with the students at his church for years and wanted to do something more about the brokenness and hurt he saw in so many of their lives.

Between the increasing drop-out rates and rise in bullying every year in public schools, he felt it was time to take action - he proposed the idea to his senior pastor. That day, he gave StartCHURCH a phone call to assist him in starting his Christian school.

Each week, on average, a student will spend only two to three hours at church. They spend about thirteen times that at their school.

What if those two could be combined? What if, at school, students could be learning more about Christ’s love, while learning valuable skills and developing their giftings? 

Good news, you can!

The tax code allows you to establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation organized for educational purposes. This means that churches can offer accredited education founded on religious principles for children of all ages.

Nonprofit schools have an added benefit; Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) allows tax-deductible donations to educational organizations. This means that rather than relying solely on tuition, your school can be funded by donations and grants.

This can significantly reduce the amount of tuition charged to students and can help allow your school to serve a broader range of students.

“But where do I start?”

Just like starting your church or ministry, a church-run school must also be incorporated, have a board of directors, establish bylaws, and so on. But, there are some additional steps to take to get your school up and running smoothly.

Here are eight steps every church-run school should take to ensure compliance.

1. Choose a start date, along with your calendar and tax year. Some schools operate on a fiscal year of January to December, and others choose June to May. Choose the fiscal year that works for you and be sure this is noted in your school’s bylaws.

2. Choose your educational philosophy and curriculum. Be sure that your curriculum is consistent with your state’s requirements for receiving a diploma. (Your state requirements can be found on the Secretary of State website for your state. Look up your state followed by SOS to find the website (Ex. GA SOS.)  

For colleges and universities, your accreditation process may affect your curriculum choices. You can also consider implementing additional programs, like foreign languages, arts, music, sports, and more.

3. Research state laws to be sure that your school is compliant with regulations overseeing the operation of private schools. Refer to your Secretary of State website for the state you’re located in.

4. Decide on your school’s site. Will you be renting another building or will you be renting space from inside the church? If you are renting space from the church, you want to make sure you create a lease agreement stating the school will act independently from the church and will be paying rent.

5. Create a working budget. This will let you know how big or small you can start. You may want to start with only a few grades or a limited number of students. You can always add more grades and more students as your school grows in funding and staff. Find out more about creating your budget here.

6. Determine the staff you need to get started. How many teachers and administrators can you hire with your current budget? This may require you to fine tune your enrollment. Be sure that you take into consideration your state’s requirements for student teacher ratios for private schools.

7. Make sure your church or school has the required language in its articles of incorporation. It is imperative that your articles of incorporation note that you are a religious school and that you have a statement of faith in your bylaws to show that your school is governed by religious principles. 

8. Follow the IRS guidelines for nondiscriminatory practices. The IRS provides great resources for schools, to help you comply with federal regulations; they are: Publication 557Form 5788 and instructions, and Schedule E of Form 990 for schools and its instructions.

Questions About IRS Guidelines? Come to a Conference!

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A necessary detail you must not forget

The IRS requires that every school, whether private or public, establish and publish a racial nondiscriminatory policy. 

What does this mean?

The IRS’s main concern is fair education for all students. You want to be sure that you implement this policy in your bylaws, proving to them that you are operating in such a manner.

If you want to get a free copy of this policy sent to you, call StartCHURCH at 877-494-4655. 

Don’t forget that your board of directors will need to vote on this policy at a board meeting for it to be implemented at your school.

Increase Your Impact by 93%

Pastor Josh had a vision to start a school for children in the community who seemed to be having academic and social trouble at the school they were attending. He saw drastic changes in each student that attended the church’s Christian school.

Years later, Pastor Josh has sports and music programs running in the afternoon that are open to the public. He is now able to offer grants and scholarships to students who are less privileged, but showed a desire to make a change in their life. Many of his students have given their life to Christ and are living the life God has called them to.

Pastor Josh was amazed with all God had done in the first couple years, and he wondered how the students’ lives would have been different, had he not followed God’s call to start a school

The church has a unique opportunity to influence those pivotal years in a child and teenager’s life to help shape them into the person God has called them to be!

By starting a school, you are increasing your impact by 93%. You will be going from just three hours a week to over 40! 

The steps listed above are a launch pad to help you start moving forward with your church-run school.

If you are ready to start, our team of trained specialists would love to help make this process easier for you!

Give StartCHURCH a call today!

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera

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