The six phases below include a number of individual steps designed to ensure your success throughout this project. If after reading the information, should have any questions, please contact us.
PHASE ONE: SELECT
Select the following individuals to complete the process of incorporation: Incorporator, Agent for Service of Process, and two (2) Directors (President and Secretary).
Phase One Checklist:
- One Incorporator: The incorporator will oversee the process of incorporation for the church/meeting. The incorporator should be familiar with the approval process of the Friend church/meeting and have the ability to gather the necessary documents and information to complete the process. This may be the planting pastor or another individual who is a key leader in the church.
- One Agent for Service of Process: The Agent for Service of Process is the individual who will receive all legal documents from the state and be the registered agent of this church/meeting for the State. This could be the pastor, the Clerk of the Meeting, the Chairman of the Board, or another person who is willing to take on this responsibility. The Agent for Service of Process’ address can be that of the church’s office.
- Two (2) Directors to represent the nonprofit corporation: These individuals will act as the first Chairperson and Secretary of the church. These are the officers of the corporation.
PHASE TWO: GATHER
Gather the following documents from www.efcsw.org website. These documents will be listed under the Elders and Representatives page in the Training and Resource Section. The Incorporator should download and familiarize him/herself with the documents.
Phase Two Check List:
- CA process for incorporating a new church
- CA Attorney’s Information and Check List
- CA Articles of Incorporation
- CA Bylaws for a new church
- EFCSW Sample Group Exemption Letter
- Review all documents.
PHASE THREE: COMPLETE
Complete the Attorney’s Information and Check List, the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws . This can be done using a standard computer and Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program that is standard on most computers. Complete any check request forms needed for approval of funds.
Phase Three Check List:
- Complete the Attorney’s Information and Check List.
- Complete the Articles of Incorporation by filling in the requested information.
- Complete the Bylaws.
- Complete the EFCSW’s Request for IRS Group Exemption
- Complete and collect all information requested by the attorney.
- Complete all check request forms needed to complete the process.
PHASE FOUR: SUBMIT
Submit all paperwork listed in the Attorney’s Information Request and Check List. Remember to include the Incorporators contact information should the need arise for further clarification or details. After the papers are filed and approved, the attorney will return the approved Articles of Incorporation, Minutes for approval at the first Directors meeting, and a final bill for the cost of publishing the Articles in a public newspaper.
Phase Four Check List:
- Mail all documents to the Attorney having completed the Attorney’s Information Request and Check List.
- Mail all original documents to the attorney’s office. We suggest using USPS Priority Mail with tracking numbers to trace the document in case it gets lost.
- Notify the attorney’s office that the documents are coming.
- Work with the Attorney to complete Form 3500 from the California Franchise Tax Board. Additional attorney’s fees will apply.
PHASE FIVE: REVIEW & REQUEST
Review the approved documents and the Minutes for the initial Directors meeting and Request a meeting of the Board of Directors/Elder Board/Ministry and Counsel.
Phase Five Check List:
- Review the approved Articles of Incorporation
- Review the minutes for the first meeting of the Directors/Ministry and Counsel
- Review any special notes from the attorney’s office
PHASE SIX: FILE
Approve the drafted Minutes from the Attorney at the first Elder Board/Ministry and Counsel meeting. (Meeting of the Directors) Sign all necessary documents and open necessary accounts. File all original legal documents in a fire proof location and distribute copies of the approved Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and approved minute to the new Elder Board/Ministry and Counsel.
Phase Six Check List:
- Approve drafted Minutes
- Sign Documents
- Review notes from Attorney
- Submit the attorney’s invoice for payment (Publication Cost and Form 3500)
- Copy and send EFCSW central office a copy of all documents.
- File documents in a safe location for future reference.
- Celebrate that the process is over! Thank you for your hard work!
CA Bylaws for a New Church (PDF)
For PDF files: Adobe Acrobat Reader is required. If you do not have Acrobat, you may download it FREE here.
Helpful Resources Links for California