Simple churches often meet in homes or other places where people gather for social relationships. Rather than focusing on programs, buildings, or hired staff, simple churches are typically neighbor-led and emphasize discipleship through relationship.
Tony and Felicity Dale, leaders in simpler forms of church, have several helpful webpages and blogs:
- www.simplychurch.com – Felicity’s blog
- The Dale’s mention this six week “Getting Started” guide as helpful to those exploring their next steps in simpler church.
- SimpleChurch.com’s Vimeo station – has several videos that might be helpful, including one in Spanish
“None of us are preachers. Do we need to preach a sermon at our simple house church?,” some ask. Recent research argues that lecture is not the best way to learn: “It’s almost certainly the case that lectures have been ineffective for centuries. But now we’ve figured out a better way to teach” that makes students an active participant in the process, Wieman says. Cognitive scientists have found that “learning only happens when you have this intense engagement,” he adds. “It seems to be a property of the human brain.”
Videos that you might find interesting:
- “Upside Down Leadership”
- “Like a Mighty Wave” – From the International Mission Board about church planting movements
- “Tidal Wave”
Three pages about opening bank accounts, handing finances and tax exemption.
This information is from “Starting House Churches” by Bill Walters, published in 1998 by the BGCT. (uploaded pages). Our house church followed this guide and had no problem. Since 9/11/2001, though, banks have been less consistent in what they ask for. But usually the mentioned minutes of a church business meeting and the Employee Identification Number (EIN) gets you a long way with them. It is often helpful to work with a bank with whom you already have some relationship.
Online application for an Employee Identification Number (EIN)
More about tax exemption from the IRS webpage:
“Who Is Eligible for Section 501(c)(3) Status?
Organizations organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals are eligible to file Form 1023 to obtain recognition of exemption from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Form 1023 not necessary. The following types of organizations may be considered tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) even if they do not file Form 1023.
- Churches, including synagogues, temples, and mosques.
- Integrated auxiliaries of churches and conventions or associations of churches.
- Any organization that has gross receipts in each taxable year of normally not more than $5,000.
Even though the above organizations are not required to file Form 1023 to be tax exempt, these organizations may choose to file Form 1023 in order to receive a determination letter that recognizes their section 501(c)(3) status and specifies whether contributions to them are tax deductible.
(from http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1023/ar01.html#d0e127 on November 4, 2011)
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