So here’s the scenario…
You and your spouse are on fire for Christ. You’ve dedicated your life to evangelism, you have heart to serve, and you love to share how your relationship with God has transformed your lives.
You decide to start a church, and you’ve looked around in effort to build with the traditional church model.
As you looked around, you realized there were many steps like ordination, getting a building, evangelism to get people to come, and so many other barriers you’d have to overcome.
Plus, the Cost!
- Renting space
- Marketing materials (pamphlets, signs, etc.)
- The offering basket
- Communion wafers
- Offering envelopes
- Church school curriculum
- and on and on…
As a young couple, you’re just getting your career established, learning to take care of one another, and maybe have kids in the next couple years. You don’t have money for all the things an offline church requires!
Getting discouraged, you start to realize that unless you get investors, you won’t be able to start any time soon!
You go home disappointed, get on social media and share your research. After posting, you get tons of likes and comments, and you realize that there’s an audience online!
You and your spouse get the idea, “We can start church in a nontraditional way serving people who they otherwise could not because the internet is used by 4/7 of the world’s population!”
But now, you don’t know where to start.
This article will tell you exactly what you need to do to take your idea and turn it into a ministry. Then, if you’d like to scale the ministry, you can join our community here at KOHA because that’s what our mission is all about: bringing entrepreurship principles to ministry leaders so they can start and scale ministries online.
Let’s get started…
The Expectations of the Church are Changing
There are statistics all over proving there are many people leaving the traditional church model, however, you’d be surprised to know that if you do keyword research, there are millions (maybe even billions) of daily searches queries about spirituality.
In fact, Google receives an average of 4 billion searches everyday!
Some people have been fooled into believing the church is less relevant today, when in fact, the church is more relevant today, but not enough people know how to start a church online that meets people where they’re at.
People are going to the internet when they have a prayer request, when they want to know how to solve their marriage problems, or when their kids are acting out of control.
Shouldn’t the church be able to respond to ordeals like this?
False doctrines are spreading like wildfires because the church is not in place!
The Church Has to Change with the Times
The internet is answering their questions, but many churches are not prepared to respond to queries of this sort. The traditional model churches are expecting people to come to a service when they have a spiritual need or to call and wait to speak to someone.
Majority of the millennials and modern-minded church goers aren’t solving their spiritual problems by attending a service or calling a hotline. They’re “Googling”!
Unfortunately, they can get unbiblical advice or be misguided simply by landing on a web page of a person who is misinformed. We need more sharp ministry leaders in the field of online ministry!
A church online can be a POWERFUL mission. It has no geographic confines and can reach people all over the world.
There are tools that give you insight, so you can answer the questions people are actually asking, and there’s major gaps in the information available on the web. If you stick with me in this article, I’ll show you how to start a church online and prove there are many gaps search users need someone like you to answer.
In 2015, my husband and I decided to start a church. My husband is from Ghana and I am from Ohio, but because I was in the military, we were living in San Antonio, Texas. We didn’t know many people in the local area.
Our family didn’t live nearby. When we decided to start a church we weren’t starting with the ability to leverage circles we already knew. For us, we were starting our church from scratch.
We went around to local churches in hopes to rent a space within their church–utilizing time slots that wouldn’t compete with what they were doing, but not many churches were open to that. Many of them wanted to collaborate only within their denominations, some wanted to spend years mentoring us before considering allowing us to start, and there were many other barriers.
When we did find a nice location within another church, it cost $600/month.
We were both working, but we didn’t have $600/month plus the cost of all of the other expenses to start the church, but we still had a heart to start.
What did we do? Adapted and Overcame
We didn’t let the research discourage us. Instead, we decided to start the church at our house and online, we went door-to-door and had people come.
Don’t laugh, but this is us in our early days…
The startup costs were much lower when we started at our house and used online tools to start a website and to stream. The funny thing that we didn’t notice for the longest time is the impact we were having online.
We may have gotten 10 people to show up in person, but over time, we’ve had hundreds show up online. They may not have showed up to the live session, but when we recorded ourselves or I wrote a blog post, I can look back and see thousands of visitors and viewers since 2015! I’ve written Christian books that thousands of people have read since I’ve published them!
As a result, I see online ministry as a viable and effective way to start a ministry. It may be a nontraditional approach, but there are many people who want to grow spiritually, and who feel they are not finding what they’re looking for in a traditional church model. You can help those people by learning how to start a church online.
How Online Ministry is Different Than Offline Ministry
Online ministry is a little different than offline ministry. Here’s how…
With Offline Ministry
- You do offline evangelism
- You drive traffic to your building
- People find you by your physical address or phone number
- Your interaction is live and in-person in most instances
- Startup costs are almost consistent with those of starting an offline business
With an Online Ministry
- You do online evangelism: on social media, in search engines, or thru video
- You drive traffic to your website
- People find you from search engine optimization (SEO) or social media marketing
- Your interaction is mostly virtual, but you can have live seminars or meetups (if you’d like)
- Startup costs are much lower than offline ministries
You can intermingle live sessions with recorded sessions, and you can have large amounts of traffic to your ministry from all across the world! Simply by setting up technology i your home, you have the potential to make a huge global impact!
The 8 Steps to Start a Church Online
When you’re ready to start a church online, these are the steps I’d recommend (some don’t have to be performed in this order)…
1. Create a Church Business Plan
Even though you’re starting a ministry, it requires a strategic plan. You don’t want to leave your ministry to happenstance. It’s important that even if the startup costs are low that you sit down and consider what you’ll need, how you’ll pay for it, how you’ll continually fund the new organization, and what’s your plan for growth.
2. Incorporate Your Ministry as a DBA, For-Profit, or Nonprofit (your choice)
Incorporating is the legal process for the government to recognize a separate entity is being formed. There are many benefits to doing this including tax benefits, accounting and recordkeeping benefits, and credibility.
Often, people incorporate ministries as nonprofit organizations, but that’s truly your choice. Some ministries incorporate as for-profit organizations and others use the DBA for as long as possible. Here are a few articles that can help you with how to incorporate, and how to start a business with $100 or less.
For more information on nonprofit benefits, check this article here, and if you’re still confused about which direction to go, I’d recommend setting up a free trial consultation with Rocket Lawyer.
3. Get your EIN Number
After you’ve incorporated and decided on your legal structure, you want to get your EIN number. The process is simple and free if you go directly thru the IRS.
4. Create a Business Bank Account
The process to create a church bank account is almost identical to creating any other business bank account. It’s important to separate the church money from your personal money, so this step is paramount. Check out my article on How To Open a Business Bank Account HERE.
5. Start a Church Website
The church website will be your digital real estate. It’s where you will direct your congregants to go to read your articles, listen to your recordings, watch your videos, and so on. You can set up a free website within 30 seconds by using this free website creator here:
Then, when you’re ready, you can transfer the free website onto a paid domain by contacting the SiteSupport at Wealthy Affiliate so you can have your own church branding. For example, you can set up onlinechurch.siterubix.com by using the free tool here, but if you want onlinechurch.com (a domain without “.siterubix.com”), then you’d have to purchase the domain for $13.99-15.99, and have SiteSupport transfer the free website there.
6. Learn how to Leverage the Internet to Drive Traffic to Your Website
Traffic generation online is an area that is very different than the offline world. The search engines are the main source of website traffic, then social media trails behind that. You have to learn how to respond to what search users are looking for online, how to optimize your content so search engines will serve your content to the user, and other Internet Marketing principles.
I recommend Wealthy Affiliate’s internet marketing training for anyone trying to start a ministry or business online. They give you everything you need to know and have a huge community that’s very engaged to help you along the way.
I’m there everyday, so I can help you to start and scale your ministry using the tools they offer there. If you’re ready to start or scale your online ministry, CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT NOW.
7. Learn how to Engage with the Traffic to Effectively Evangelize and Nurture those Who Interact with your Ministry
After you’ve learned about driving traffic to your website, and you’re getting results. You’ll want to learn how to build relationships with the people coming.
Since you’re online, it’s not like you see faces when they land on your site. Instead, you use virtual tools. The Internet Marketing Certification will teach you how to get traffic and how to engage with the traffic. After you’ve completed the certification, you can look into email marketing and more into social media marketing to ramp things up even further.
8. Create Consistent Content that Helps others
After you’ve gotten the preliminaries in order, then it’s time to take massive action. The most important thing in online ministry is content. You have to create content. I’ve written a whole series on content creation that can help you. You can check out my series on content creation HERE.
Additional Legal Requirements for Churches
If you’d like to perform live weddings or other traditional ceremonies, you would want to consider ordination because there are legal requirements to perform ceremonies of that sort.
You’d have to decide what denomination you want to be a part of, and many other things I’m not a fan of. I personally don’t have ministerial credentials, but that’s not stopping me from being effective in ministry.
If you want credentials, do some research, and make sure you’re getting a good service in exchange for your money. Many of the organizations are making you pay upwards of $100 in exchange for a certificate ( a piece of paper!). I think that’s a ripoff! Be careful and ensure you’re getting a service that’s fair for the price.
Ordination should offer some mentorship, accountability component, or some other practical assistance besides just a piece of paper, but that’s my opinion.
Final Words on How To Start a Church Online
The goal of this article was to show you how to start a church online. I would love to see more ministries who respond to this need for online ministries. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
If you’re ready to start or scale a ministry online, CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT HERE. You’ll get two free websites, 10 free training lessons towards an Internet Marketing Certification, access to a huge community of 1 millions+ ministry leaders and entrepreneurs, and our ongoing KOHA newsletter on starting and scaling a ministry into an enterprise. CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT HERE.
Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you started a ministry online? What are the major differences you’ve noticed in online church and offline church? Have you noticed the potential impact of online church? How did you notice? Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below.