Creating A New Congregation


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One quick question for all who have congregations....

I'm wondering how many of you charge membership dues, and how much? We are currently pondering this subject, trying to keep things very fair, but still making it possible to finance our congregation, as nothing comes free.

Thanks!

As a church, I would say no you cannot/should not be charging membership fees. However, I know that some churches have set up automatic withdrawal forms for their regular congregation members. That way, the members need not give money every week in the collection plate, but a specific amount is automatically transferred from their bank account into the church's account at specific intervals.

I would stick with a traditional collection plater - or with a "donation box" for now. You can go to the automatic withdrawal now or later on as you start getting a regular group of people in the congregation.

Edited to add: I also agree with what VonNoble stated - donations do not always have to be in the form of money, especially once you have established a church location of your own. A plumber, for example, could provide his "donations" through the occasional free job (especially for small jobs), or by providing you with a discount on major work.

Edited by Rev Ed
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Quick update....

Our day in Trenton... was very frustrating. As expected, they had no clue what they were doing. They sent us back to our conty clerk to register, who then was very happy to register us a Trade Name which according to them is something many churches have done, because it enables them to open a bank account. And, as an unincorp. association, that may be useful. BUT fact of the matter is, incorps. of ALL kinds are meant to be done by Trenton. We caled an yelled at them again, and got yet some other explaination, saying we need to do something federally which was just total BS. So we're now looking into finding a lawyer willing to work pro-bono, or we may have to resort to using a Pay service such as Legalzoom to get these papers filed. we don't have enough knowledge of laws and paperwork to hold our own here and fight with the people who know less than we do but work for the gov't.

If anyone knows of anyone or service inparticular who can help... by all means, PLEASE let me know.

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Quick update....

Our day in Trenton... was very frustrating. As expected, they had no clue what they were doing. They sent us back to our conty clerk to register, who then was very happy to register us a Trade Name which according to them is something many churches have done, because it enables them to open a bank account. And, as an unincorp. association, that may be useful. BUT fact of the matter is, incorps. of ALL kinds are meant to be done by Trenton. We caled an yelled at them again, and got yet some other explaination, saying we need to do something federally which was just total BS. So we're now looking into finding a lawyer willing to work pro-bono, or we may have to resort to using a Pay service such as Legalzoom to get these papers filed. we don't have enough knowledge of laws and paperwork to hold our own here and fight with the people who know less than we do but work for the gov't.

If anyone knows of anyone or service inparticular who can help... by all means, PLEASE let me know.

It could be that you visited the wrong department. Did you go to the Department of State? It could also be that you were at a STATE office with FEDERAL laws in hand....

In any event, to form a corporation in New Jersey, go here.

You can fill out the form online here and never even go to Trenton again. (I know....you really want to go back, don't you?)

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It could be that you visited the wrong department. Did you go to the Department of State? It could also be that you were at a STATE office with FEDERAL laws in hand....

In any event, to form a corporation in New Jersey, go here.

You can fill out the form online here and never even go to Trenton again. (I know....you really want to go back, don't you?)

Thanks for that info... but we've already been there. That's what prompted us to go to Trenton. We went to the Corporate FIling Unit - it was definitely the right place. Problem is, they had no idea what they were doing. Just like this website, they weren't aware of the laws pertaining to "Title 16" Incorporation. New Jersey has special laws for the incorporation of churches. We can file with a reduced fee, in the order of only $25, and no annual filing for tax...as we'd be tax exempt. The website doesn't provide for it... and the person we spoke to was totally unknowledgable on the subject, despite her "working there for 15 years". Just because someone works someowhere for a long legth nof time, especially for government, doesn't mean they are always GOOD at it. Besides, I'm sure it isn't everyday they need to know how to handle a new church filing.

I'm not exactly sure how we're going to proceed from here. I guess we'll discuss it at our next board meeting this Saturday. Gotta love these beauracracies, no?

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The website doesn't provide for it...

I went through the process of incorporating a church in New Jersey, using the online form. If I had paid the fee I would now be the proud owner of ULC Chruch of Me... The business purpose is "6110 - Religous" and the SIC code (or NAICS Association code) is 813110 - Religous Organizations.

I don't know how much it would have required me to pay, however, and the only reference I could find is that the Secretary of State sets their own fees, and that is $75 for all Non-Profit corporations. However, under Title 16 as you stated, I saw reference to a fee of $5 on an off-site PDF file.

I hope you are right and you can get it filed for a reduced amount. BUT.... the direction this topic is taking I would strongly recommend that you employee the services of a professional. Maybe that site I linked to can help.

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Just wanted to pop in and give everyone an update. We opened our bank account.... easiest bit of the process. Wonderful lady.

We're planning our first set of services now... our opening service being that of the Samhain Festival. Open to all... I'm really excited about it.

You've all been such a wonderful help, and the support you've lent has been great.

Thank you all so very much!

We're putting the Incorporation on hold just for now so we can take stock of our situation. Its no good to have an incorporated church if we have no services or participants! But once we tackle that again, I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes. I don't anticipate it being too long from now though.

I've also got our website well under way now. If you'd like to visit it, go to www.sacredwindsanctuary.org

I'd love your opinions. After all, its all possible because of you.

Blessed Be!

Edited by Rev. Matt
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