Articles of incorporation for a church

Articles of incorporation for a church: Articles of incorporation are the most important documents for any church. These state that a church will be using and distributing funds to operate their organization. The two major things that make an organization qualify as a church under U.S. law are its having a recognized creed and its use of a formal code of doctrine or worship. These organizations usually have institutionalized rites such as sacraments; an authoritative hierarchy, such as a leader, clergy, and membership; and formal gatherings or services, such as public worship and religious services.

Articles of incorporation for a church are legal documents that must be followed in order to create and maintain a church legally. A church may exist once it has been created but without the Articles of Incorporation for a church, it will always remain as an association of people and will not be considered a legal corporation.

The purpose of this paper is to provide guidelines for drafting articles of incorporation for a church. It first provides information about churches, then introduces the important purposes an organization should fulfill, and lastly it focuses on the most important p…

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Articles of incorporation for a church

We, the undersigned, hereby incorporate [name of church], a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the state of [state].

The name of this corporation is [name].

This corporation’s principal place of business is located at [address].

The purpose for which this corporation is organized is to operate as a religious organization and to promote and practice the principles, teachings and doctrines of Christianity.

The name of the corporation is [church name].

The corporation is a nonprofit organization. It is organized under the laws of [state] for religious purposes and not for profit.

Its principal office is in [state], and it may have other offices at such places in or outside the state as the board of directors may determine from time to time.

Its purpose is to provide religious services, teach spiritual truths and principles, and promote the public welfare by providing social services, conducting charitable activities, and engaging in fund-raising activities as part of its ministry.

Articles of incorporation for a church


What is an articles of incorporation?

An “articles of incorporation” is a formal document that creates a legal business entity. It’s used to start non-profit organizations and other businesses. In this guide, we’ll be focusing on creating articles of incorporation for a church specifically. If you’re not starting a church, this article will still help you understand the process.

Legal Name of the Corporation

The legal name of the corporation should be the same as the name of your church. If you do not have a church yet, it is permissible to use a name that is similar to the one you will eventually choose. For example:

  • If your church’s name is “Welcome Community Church,” then its legal name should be “Welcome Community Church.”
  • If your church’s name is “The New Life Missionary Baptist Church,” then its legal name could be either “New Life Missionary Baptist” or “New Life Missionary Baptist Church.”
  • If your church has no specific religious affiliation and simply wants something nondescriptive like “Outreach Center” or “Justice League,” then its legal name can also be anything generic like those examples above.

Purpose of the Corporation

You may choose to include the following language in your Articles of Incorporation:

  • The corporation is organized exclusively for the religious purpose of providing a place where people can go to worship and pray.
  • The corporation is not for profit, but its income shall be used exclusively for religious purposes.
  • The corporation does not wish to be classified as a church or religious organization, as this may cause legal issues when applying for state and federal tax exempt status.

Registered Agent and Address

A Registered Agent is a person or entity designated by the corporation to receive service of process and other official papers on behalf of the corporation. The Registered Agent should be located in the same state as your business. You may not use a post office box as your registered agent address, but you can use someone else’s physical address if they agree to act as your agent.

In addition, it is strongly recommended that you have an attorney-in-fact for each director of your church acting as agent for service of process (if other than yourself). If there are no directors, then all members should designate another member as their agent for service of process. However, this individual must also be approved by the Secretary of State before becoming legally effective.

Officers, Directors and Incorporator

The incorporator is the person who signs and files the Articles of Incorporation. The directors are elected by members to oversee the church corporation’s affairs, including collecting funds and carrying out legal duties.

A president is a director elected by members to lead the corporation as chief executive officer. A secretary keeps minutes of all meetings and records votes. A treasurer manages money matters; he or she may be elected as part of a committee or work on his or her own. Members are those people who have been baptized into membership in your church organization; they elect trustees (or deacons) who hold office until their terms expire, usually for one year terms at a time.

These are the things that need to be in your articles of incorporation for a church.

  • Name of the corporation. This is the legal name of your church. It must be clearly distinguishable from any other existing entity, both for reasons of efficiency and to avoid confusion.
  • Purpose of the corporation. Why does your church exist? What activities will it perform?
  • Registered agent and address. You’ll need an address where all legal documents can be sent so that you can keep track of them and make sure they get filed in a timely manner (you don’t want to miss deadlines). In addition, many states require that you have someone who lives in or near that state designated as your registered agent; this person will receive official notices on behalf of your organization should something need to be done quickly or immediately after being received by mail at their address.
  • Officers/Directors/Incorporator(s) The names, titles, addresses and signatures of those who own shares in this business venture


It is very important to make sure that you have all of the items we discussed in your articles of incorporation. This will ensure that you are legally protected and can run your church without any issues. If you are unsure about something, make sure to take it up with an attorney so they can advise on what needs to be included or what doesn’t belong in your articles of incorporation for the church. It is better to be safe than sorry when you are starting a new business venture!

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