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Ask the Patriarch 222
I want to start a "church"

from: Steven

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I am interested in starting my own "church" of sorts. Once specifically designated to point out the flaws in established religions, namely: Christianity. Also to bring people together as exactly what we are; PEOPLE, not hosts for some holy parasite.

I was wondering if you could lend any advice on how I would go about this?

Much appreciated.

-Steven

The Patriarch replies:

Steven:

As is mentioned elsewhere on this site, I am in the midst of preparations for a major move (from the prairies to oceanside, or more accurately, straitside) and thus I have limited time available to assist others, let alone work on this site. This answer, when combined with that in response to a similar question earlier, will be all the advice you get.

First of all, in North America, any fool can start a church. This website proves it. You just call whatever enterprise you are undertaking a church. That's it.

Outside North America, I suggest you may need to consult a lawyer. Many countries, even those we consider free democracies impose limitations on who can call themselves churches, either to protect those churches already established or to protect their citizens from cults.

Regardless of where you live, if you intend to incorporate, you need a lawyer. I have not done it, so so I cannot guide you.

But before you start a church, you should ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish by using this term. Does it help you sell the ideas that you are trying to promote? Can you justify use of the word church? Because I can assure you that you will have to. (See Q&A 71, 161, 178)

And if your thoughts about being a church include tax benefits (something I don't attempt to claim on my taxes,) prepare to be audited.

I'll say one other thing about using the word church - while I find it quite useful given that the full name of this church suggests a tongue-in-cheek approach - I recognize that there are some who would support what I am doing who absolutely refuse to visit a site with church in the name. It's a guaranteed disincentive to some of your potential audience.

I suggest you consider some other designation. If you are looking for members, call yourself a club, a society, a bulletin board, a social network. If it's a one man show to promulgate your thoughts, just go with a blog or a web magazine.

All the above seems to have a bit of a negative tone. Let's try some positive advice that will get you off and running.

You already have some ideas about where you want to go. Now start to express them. I suggest you plan on using a blog to get off the ground. But before you set up the blog, prepare three good articles introducing what you are doing. Have your material ready to go before you go on the web.

Next - think what you want to call yourself - get a catchy title that suggests your goals, and will get people to visit. Then sign up of one of the free blogging services and post your three initial articles.

Now you'll have a web address and sufficient content that when you ask for a link exchange from other sites, they will probably list you. (They aren't going to list an empty blog or a single article blog.) Respect link exchanges - they are called exchanges for a reason - give back a listing in your own links page.

Update regularly - you want visitors to return.

If your blog is successful - then you can consider the next step and set up your own website - and at that time, consider what organizational structure is appropriate for you.