How to Start A Digital Church

By Johnny Johnson

Have you thought about starting a Digital Church or adding one to your existing church? It makes sense, after all 54% of millennials go online searching for videos about faith and spirituality, and Google reports that over 30 thousand individuals search every month for online church services.

Last week we introduced you to the Metaverse and explained why this is a brand new mission field that the Lord has placed in every church's path to expand our reach of the Gospel to God’s people and seekers in search of a spiritual home. Are you ready to reach people around the world? Then starting an online church may be the right path for you!

Start Right

Starting right means getting started on a firm legal foundation. You don’t have to have a physical building to host a church service, but like any church, you need to be legally established. God has called you, and you’re ready to start the legal process; however, sometimes the first step can make you feel uncertain. Here are seven quick steps to ensuring your ministry starts off on the right foot:

Step 1. Incorporation

The articles of incorporation provide a strong legal shield, ensure limited legal liability and protect you and your members.

Step 2. F.E.I.N

With an F.E.I.N you can open a church bank account. It also provides identification for your organization for business and federal purposes.

Step 3. Bylaws

Bylaws outline the governing structure of your church. They also protect your vision, your ministry and your members.

Step 4. Policies

Essential policies and procedures help establish and protect your board of directors, volunteers and those who lead your church.

Step 5. 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

Getting federal tax-exempt status provides many benefits, including the ability to provide contribution statements to your donors.

Step 6. Ordination

After establishing your online church, you can also create an ordination program and license and ordain ministers of the Gospel, including yourself.

Step 7. Annual Compliance

By IRS standards, online churches are typically classified as non-church entities, though they can function as a church. After receiving 501(c)(3) status, organizations that have received a non-church classification must file Form 990 every year with the IRS in order to maintain their tax-exempt status.

It is important to know that churches and ministries, while they still fall under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, are classified differently by the IRS. Failure to fall under the correct classification will result in issues in your organization's future. These issues usually result in trouble with annual filings, incorrect purpose and language in your articles of incorporation, hindrances with funding and more.

Start Somewhere

The next part of this is finding your home. Figure out where your “congregation” will be meeting. Are you going to live on Zoom as a weekly meeting with possible breakout rooms for small groups or children’s digital ministries?

The possibilities are endless.

Maybe you want to feature your messages as live streams via TikTok, YouTube or Instagram. Pick your platform and commit to it. Down the road you can get streaming software like OBS or tricaster and stream to multiple platforms at once.

Start Simple

Above and beyond all that…start simple. Don’t worry about big bad cameras and tripods. Get a $24 dollar desk tripod and cell phone clip. Amazon has kits with simple lighting and stands for under $80. The other part of starting simple: don’t try to be super formal. Other than scheduling when your “service” stream will be The Metaverse is a (relatively) casual experience. Most of the people watching, liking and even giving will be the average person in their house watching on their cell phone, laptop, or desktop.

Another thing to consider is all of this feels like a very long list of stuff…so if it’s all a little over the top for you, give us a call.

This is where StartCHURCH can help!

With the StartRIGHT Service, you can be sure that the vision God has planted in your heart for your online church will be protected. Our team of specialists will come alongside you to help you create a legal foundation. You can focus on growing your online church while we help you with legally establishing your ministry.

In the end, this is your calling and this is your church, your trail to blaze…Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

That verse is talking about you. You are the answer to someone’s prayer for a community to worship the Lord with.

We can’t wait to see what you do.

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And receive Book 1 of our Grow Trilogy FREE today! This series gives you the strategies you need to get started growing your church plant today!