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Church bylaws

Guidelines to Writing Church Bylaws•

1. Meet with the church board to decide your bylaws and determine the focus of your church. The secretary of the board should take minutes for the bylaw meeting.
•2. Write the church’s official name, bank documents, bills, bank accounts and other pertinent documentation.
•3. Define the church’s purpose, what you plan to address through your ministries, and your legal status. Is your church a registered tax-exempt non-profit organization or do you have another tax status? This will help you define how you will operate in terms of donations and it’s very important. Only non-profit organizations can accept tax-deductible donations.
•4. Discuss the denomination of your church, If your church belongs to a specific denomination, it’s important that you mention this in your bylaws. This will help guide your church’s statement of faith or what your congregation holds to be true.
•5. Write your church’s mission statement and outline how the leaders of your church plan to achieve its purpose and goals. Will your church focus on outreach projects or programs?
•6. Discuss the requirements for membership to your church, including the process of becoming a member and each congregant’s right, responsibilities, and requirements for members if any applies. Include whether congregants will have voting rights or if the voting rights are herald solely by the board.
•7. Define how staff members are chosen or elected and their responsibilities within the congregation. Clearly outline how the choosing or election process will work.
•8. Write the rules for board meetings, including who has the right to vote, how the meetings will be regulated, and how often financial updates should occur.
•9. Define the departments within your church, such as finance, women’s ministry, youth ministry, pro-life or other areas that your church will focus on.
•10. Discuss the church’s ability to own land and have assets and whose name they will be listed under. A church must abide by state laws. Some states require incorporation in order to own land. If incorporation is decided against by the board, then the assets of the church should be placed in one person’s name.
•11. Explain how your church’s bylaws can be amended and if majority vote is required. As the church grows, revisions might need to be made to the bylaws.
•12. Plan in case the church might be dissolved and how church assets will be distributed if the church closes.
•13. Hold a vote to approve the bylaws. If a majority of the board members approve it, this will be a legally-banding document to guide the church.

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