Starting A Southern Baptist Church

Tom Clark, Regis University


This manual has been compiled for the purpose of guiding a group of individuals in the formation of a new Southern Baptist Church. It is not designed to replace legal advice or assistance, but rather to aid in the process if legal advice for financial reasons cannot be secured. It will also serve as a pre-cursor to questions legal assistance might ask or require. In forming a new church there are many variations, but when you weed through the personal likes and opinions it comes down to three main points. Those points include electing officers for the corporation, formulating a constitution and bylaws, and finally filing paperwork with the government and Internal Revenue Service for incorporation of a nonprofit or 501(c)(3). These three points have other variables based on the state you are in and the uniqueness of your church, but these three major points still remain. If your church either has or will include a school or daycare facility there are additional requirements, which this manual will not address. Please contact your local government and/or public safety organization for regulations surrounding your unique situation or design. As a reminder, the legal dynamics as well as the IRS requirements are constantly changing so it is recommended that you make sure that you are in compliance. This manual should be used as a tool to lead to additional research and development of your church's mission and organization. Do not consider this manual as the final authority on the formation process. Additional resources can be found on the Internal Revenue Service website at