07 Nov 2019

Why I Started My Ministry with StartCHURCH

Kevin Camon

2014 was the year that God planted in my heart the vision to create a music program for young people. After discussing this newfound vision with my wife, I was suddenly overwhelmed with ideas, piles of notes, and a task to start something that I had no clue how to do legally.

Much prayer, planning, and conversations with friends and family went into the development of this dream. Most people with whom I spoke, however,  shied away from talking about the legal logistics of starting a nonprofit simply because no one knew what to do.

A good friend of mine who owns a music studio also has a similar nonprofit. So, I met with him to get insight into how to start my nonprofit. He proceeded to explain that he had done all the work himself. Filling out the paperwork alone took him over 100 hours to complete. He also told me that on a few occasions, he restarted the paperwork process because of missing or incomplete information and minor errors.

The task seemed almost too overwhelming, but I was determined to see the vision God gave me become a reality. 

The turnaround

I remember thinking I was onto a great idea, and I didn't want to spend as much time as my friend had during his paperwork process. I especially didn't want to prolong my process of getting compliant with the IRS and receiving my letter of approval.

In 2015, I talked to another good friend of mine, Nathan Camp, who works for StartCHURCH, and I shared with him my idea for a nonprofit. He began to tell me about the services and products StartCHURCH offered and how they could help me with the entire process of obtaining my letter of approval from the Internal Revenue Service. They even guaranteed my IRS approval!

Obtaining the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status can be an intimidating and challenging process. I became a little overwhelmed with the legal requirements of forming a nonprofit because I had never done anything like it before. I also didn't want to spend countless hours doing the paperwork. I wanted to focus more on putting together a program that would benefit my students, the volunteers, and the community I was called to. Honestly, the timing for StartCHURCH's services couldn't have been better. 

After doing extensive research on what StartCHURCH had to offer, I called a specialist to gather general information on getting started and what plans they had in place for what I wanted to do. The specialist I spoke with told me about the StartRGHT Service. I was shocked at how seamless each step was, and I was especially pleased with how flexible and affordable the payment plans were. 

With the StartRIGHT Service, I didn’t have to fill out any complicated state-level paperwork, I didn’t have to complete the IRS application, and I didn’t have to talk to any IRS agents. Instead, I received help from a specialist who listened to my vision and was assigned to me through each phase of the process. And I worked with a team of consultants that accommodated my time and availability, and that gave me peace of mind knowing that someone would do all of the leg work for me. It took a huge load off of my shoulders. It allowed me to focus on the vision and the mission of my nonprofit organization.

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The process

The StartCHURCH team walked me through six steps from start to finish to help me obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS. They include the following:

1. Articles of incorporation. StartCHURCH helped me develop my articles of incorporation, which provides my organization with a strong legal covering and also reflects my vision and mission. Getting incorporated also means my nonprofit is a legitimate organization recognized by the state and country. 

2. Federal employer identification number. This is also known as a tax identification number. The specialists I worked obtained the FEIN online so that I could open a bank account for my nonprofit. In doing so, they made sure the FEIN was correctly classified so that the IRS wouldn’t later confuse my nonprofit organization with a for-profit. This number is used to identify my corporation as a tax-tax-exempt organization and can be used to find our organization on the IRS’s online database. 

3. Bylaws. Having bylaws for my nonprofit protects my vision, ministry, and volunteers with a governmental structure that reflects my ministry's structure and keeps my vision clear. My assigned specialist worked with me to ensure the right language was in my bylaws to provide a  governing structure for my organization and to protect my vision as the founder.

4. Corporate policies. These help establish and protect my board of directors and those helping me lead my ministry. With the type of ministry that I have, policies will play a major part in how the organization operates.

5. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Being recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt, charitable organization is a major step for nonprofits. Being able to accept contributions and donations that are tax-deductible not only benefits our organization, but it also benefits donors as we are able to give them contribution receipts for their tax write-offs.

6. Ordination. By having the right language in my articles of incorporation and bylaws, I am able to create an ordination program. This allows me to become an ordained minister through my ministry and to create a platform where I can ordain others who are qualified to become ministers as well.

Within 90 days, the StartRIGHT Service helped me:  

  • Incorporate my ministry,
  • Open a bank account for my ministry,
  • Create customized, ironclad bylaws,
  • Establish my board of directors,
  • Apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status,
  • Become ordained, and
  • Receive donations.

My main responsibilities were to be available for a few 30 to 60 minutes calls to give the team I was working with detailed information about my nonprofit. At the end of the process, the only thing left to do was pay my IRS filing fee, mail my paperwork, and wait for the approval letter.

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The confidence to lead well

After months of planning and consulting with StartCHURCH professionals, Reverent Sound Music, Inc. became an IRS approved nonprofit located in Barrow County, Georgia.

Today, we are Reverent Sound Music & Performing Arts. Our vision continues to grow as we pour into children in surrounding local communities and show them they have talents and leadership skills they can use to give back to their communities. We work with volunteer musicians who come and teach the students at our facility. In 2020, we are looking to expand our program by including a track for a drum corp team, handbells, step-team, and much more. To learn more about Reverent Sound Music or to donate to our vision, visit http://reverentsoundmusic.org.

I am so glad I decided to start my ministry the right way with StartCHURCH. Being compliant with the IRS gives me the confidence to lead my organization freely and without the worry of handling all the legal requirements. You can have that confidence, too! 

Call a church planting specialist at 877-494-4655 or click the button below to schedule a day and time to have a specialist call you at your convenience. 

Do you have a StartCHURCH story? Share your story with us in the comments below, or tell us your story by clicking here.

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Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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