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Posts posted by sainsworth

  1. Von Noble is so right. Keep it looking like a Congregation/Fellowship or whatever you choose to call it. Even though you are legally ordained, it's important to make sure all of the I's are dotted and T's crossed. Get your self the forms from the IRS to form a 501©3 not for profit organization, as well as filing for an ss4 (you can do the ss4 online), that will give you a tax id or EIN Employer Identification Number, which you will need period if anyone gets paid, opens an account that will have more then one signer for checks or legal documents. I think the package is called an IRS 1023/1024. I forget which one, it's been a while since I filed one. When you do file it there are spaces on it where you need to describe the "charitable/tax exempt" services your Congregation will provide, this does not include Religious Services which are protected and non taxable, how ever if the forms aren't filled out, filed etc. then your Congregation may be subject to IRS scrutiny. Even though it will be tax exempt the IRS can still request financial records every five years or so, they probably won't, but can. It can be as simple as money in as donations, money out as utilities. Just don't try and buffalo them. Keep prices of all services as recommended donations, etc. For weddings, funerals, wiccan feasts. Any service you perform needs to stay donation generated. Your books should reflect all monies in, and all monies out be accounted for. If there is none, then it should reflect none. Holding services in your home is legal, as well as tax deductible (wear on the home). If any checks are written to the "congregation" always make them for deposit only, that deposit only could be your only way of keeping track of the check, as donations are tallied, especially checks make sure they are listed in your statements. Cash donations are preferred until your congregation gets it legs under it. It's plain and simple "easier" to manage.

    This of course doesn't apply if you sell religious paraphernalia, unless of course it is a recommended donation.

    Some states have specific rules. I know what mine are, but I can't help with yours. Check out your specific state's Dept of State, or whatever the state dept. or bureau is that manages business and tax exempt organizations.

    Be careful of companies that offer to collect and manage donations to your congregation. Some of them require up to a 30% fee to do the books, sounds illegal, but it isn't. Most of these claim to be Christian, but are more like Evil. They get you to sign a contract up front for a certain period of time, usually 1-5 years and it's a legal and binding contract. Then once it's signed show you the fine print where they can charge a percentage of each individual entry (scary).

    If you hold services, look and act professional. Know and practice your material. It doesn't matter how well you know, or think you know your stuff. Someone out there probably knows a little more and will delight in telling everyone. It doesn't matter which belief you subscribe to, know your stuff. If it's publishing make sure your facts are backed up with undeniable data, if you preach, make sure you study and approach your material from all possible angles, other folks will so be aware.

    I am an Inclusive Christian, that believes the Jesus Christ was Baptized, and died for the sins of ALL of us. It's a fairly radical concept to think that Jesus has already atoned for the sins of ALL MANKIND. When I first started expounding this belief I didn't have my feces consolidated, I shouldn't have preached it until I had all the facts straight. It turned out great, but I certainly had more than a few "empty seats" when I turned from conservative mainstream Christianity, to the more radical, but I believe truthful Inclusive Christianity. Bottom line, know your stuff, be able to explain yourself out of a pickle, with truth.

    Dress the part. You may be tempted to be a torn jeans and old t shirt preacher. Nothing wrong with that, Jesus lived in a tent, wore a dusty robe and often no shoes. But if your a jeans and t shirt preacher, make them the best pair of torn jeans. Even though God don't care, some of the suits might, and they are the ones donating to keep your congregation alive.

    Finally, and Von Noble (nice name, the noble one) is so right here to. Don't give up, keep plugging, keep trying and trying. If you put all the pieces that will fit on the table, it will come together.

    Keep us posted on your progress. Many of us have had the tried and failed experiences before we started getting it right