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How to start a 508(c)(1)(a) Church

We are the leader in starting a church and church ministries as 508(c)(1)(a) organizations. A 508(c)(1)(a) is the best way to form a church or church ministry. It is a tax exempt and donations given are tax deductible for donors.

Most organizations starting a new church only form 501(c)(3)’s. Worse, they use inaccurate information to scare people to voluntarily waive important constitutional rights. There is no law that says a church is required to be a 501(c)(3). A church could be organized as a 508(c)(1)(a), 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), a 501(d), and even a for profit corporation. We don’t believe you should be scared in how you form a ministry or bullied into thinking there is only one way.

It does not make faith based organizations more “churchish” to apply for 501(c)(3) status. In fact, if you are approved as a 501(c)(3) church, your letter of determination may be revoked by a government employee for any single 501(c)(3) violation.  If this happens, all your donors lose their tax deductible giving as well.

We speak the truth in power, love, and discipline following the biblical model in 2 Timothy 1:7. There is a better way to form your ministry.  It is the churches responsibility to speak the truth and develop Godly leaders.  If you are starting your own church you have the responsibility to speak the truth without compromise, develop Godly leaders, and be culturally relevant on the issues of today, such as, marriage, and sexuality.

Faith without action is dead (James 2:17). If you believe that your church or church ministry should do more than just pray, do more than pray that things change, do more than pray for revival, and do more than pray that we get Godly leaders, consider starting a ministry as a 508(c)(1)(a).


How you form a church or church ministry is critical to what you can do. Nonprofit organizations are not all the same. Some nonprofits have legal and tax advantages compared to others. Churches and church ministries are not the same as charities; churches have additional Constitutional and Federal Law rights.

Every organization that applies for 501(c)(3) recognition is required to waive speech and religious rights. 

All 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from influencing legislation and political campaigns. As social issues have become political issues, churches and church leaders are increasingly avoiding issues, avoiding taking positions, and selectively addressing Biblical principles and training Godly leaders out of fear of what might happen if they do.

There is no law that prohibits churches from speaking on candidates, politics, or legislation. The 501(c)(3) speech restrictions apply only to corporations that are organized as a 501(c)(3). Churches that believe it is their responsibility to raise and foster Godly leaders in our representative democracy may do so, but not as a 501(c)(3).

The application restrictions for all 501(c)(3) churches


First, the application for 501(c)(3) “church” status is in direct conflict with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The application requires government to unnecessarily entangle itself with churches in matters of religious speech and religious expression.

Second, all 501(c)(3) organizations have to pay either a $400 or $850 fee.  This is in direct conflict with the legal definition of “free” in the First Amendment. It makes no difference if it is a tax or processing fee, money required for consideration of an application for a church is not free.

Third, all 501(c)(3) applications are reviewed and scrutinized by a government employee.  IRS employees are often motivated, or pressured, to deny and restrict conservative non-profit application approval.

Fourth, the criteria for determining if a church qualifies as a 501 (c)(3) is vague and capricious. There is no legal definition for the word “church”. The IRS, however, has developed and publicized their own criteria they consider for evaluating an application for “church” status. In the IRS’s own words, the criteria and requirements vary from application to application. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that government rules and laws are void if they are vague.

Fifth, all 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches who apply for “church” status with the IRS, application, application supplements, contact information, address, and information of all board members is open to public inspection to any person or organization that requests it, including those who are hostile toward religion.

The speech restrictions for all 501(c)(3) churches

All 501(c)(3) organizations, including those formed as churches, have restrictions on free speech.  The application must state the ministry will not be involved in attempting to influence legislation or politics in both the state formation documents and the IRS application Form 1023.  What exactly does “attempting” mean?   If you fail to include the speech restrictions on the state formation documents and IRS Form 1023, your application is denied.   Once formed if your ministry has any single violation of attempting to influence legislation or politics, even one that is unintentional, insignificant, or small, it can result in a 501(c)(3) losing tax exempt status and donors tax deductible contributions.

What comes with a 508(c)(1)(a)?

 The 508(c)(1)(a) has none of the 501(c)(3) restrictions. Free your ministry to speak the truth, develop Godly leaders, and be relevant today.  Most of all churches need to lead in the call of training and developing leaders in our communities and nation consistent with Biblical beliefs. Every 508(c)(1)(a) comes with following:

  • The Articles of Organization
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • UBI Number
  • SS4 and Tax Identification Number
  • Certificate of Existence/Authorization
  • Charities registration exemption letter signed by the Secretary of State listing the 508 as an tax exempt organization
  • First year registered agent services
  • Bylaws template
  • Sample first minutes of board meeting 


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