Archive - July, 2011

A Prayer


When we closed on our house yesterday our realtor BLESSED us with a GREAT gift – a prayer that he wrote for our family. Steve helped us buy & sell our home in Nashville. He has been a source of encouragement & wisdom. Look him up if you are looking to buy or sell in the Nashville area: Steve Miller http://www.4nashvillehomes.com/files/285800/MeetUs.html

Here is his prayer:

Father please bless Brad & Katie this day as they once again head off to raise your banner in a new place of love & caring.
Bless their hearts and make them strong for the journey.
Bless their hands so that what they build will bring honor & glory to Your name.
Bless their mouths that their words would flow like honey from the hive with the sweetness of Your love.
Bless their path that it would become a boulevard filled with the saved.
Bless their feet that though the going will have challenges they would not tire.
Bless the Holy Spirit who lives within them to order their steps to the fount of Your abundance.
Bless them with the charge of Your angels to encourage, protect and guide them for the work they do in Your name.
Bless their family that You would build them up and bind them by the bond of Your love.
Bless their glorious children & keep them safe and in the spell of Your heavenly love for them.
Thank you Lord God for how they have and will continue to bless my life with all they do in the faithfulness of their service to You!
Praise be to You!
In Jesus Name I Pray – Amen.

I hope Steve doesn’t mind me sharing his prayer for us on my blog. Katie & I were so blessed to read these words as we left Nashville yesterday making the drive over to Memphis. I am not a man of tears but Steve’s words brought tears to my eyes. We are tired, but we are also very encouraged & excited for this next step in the journey!

Small Seeds…Beautiful Flowers


God does HUGE things when we listen to His voice & obey. They usually start small…like a mustard seed, but bloom into HUGE beautiful flowers. This is the story of the adoption agency that we used to adopt Yohannes. Over 2600 kids have now been adopted. It all began with one mother who heard God’s promise & her teenage daughter who was obedient to go to Romania & search until she found the orphan that God had placed in their family. An amazing story & an amazing adoption agency!

Change Is Hard…

I don’t care who you are, what your personality type is, or if you are introverted or extroverted, at some point change becomes difficult for all of us.  Church planters find themselves in a state of constant change.  In fact, the job of a church planter is to actually stimulate change!  With all that said sometimes a little encouragement is needed.  Here are a couple of different thoughts to consider if you are in the midst of change and find yourself struggling at times to get up off the couch.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  When you make a move down a new path, obstacles will come as a result.  Getting things done is hard, or more people would be doing it.  So accept the fact that endings are difficult and hard to implement.  You will be going through new waters, and there will be waves.  Big bumpy ones.  It takes courage and perseverance to keep going.”     Dr. Henry Cloud – Necessary Endings

Recently I was reminded why I am a Church Planter.  It’s not because it’s cool and not because it makes me happy.  Happiness is fleeting, it’s here today & gone tomorrow.  Happiness is CHEAP!  I am a Church Planter because I am living in obedience to the calling from God that I just can’t seem to shake.  Yes, it’s OBEDIENCE not HAPPINESS that draw me into this divine endeavor!  And the result of this is JOY & GLORY.  As I follow God in both struggle and success I find satisfaction and joy in knowing Him.  I find JOY & He gets GLORY.  No matter how much change comes my way – JOY & GLORY cannot be taken away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Set-Up_New Church

This is how most Church Planters feel as they attempt to setup the Business side of a new church.

I realize this particular post will mean very little to the majority of readers.  But for a certain few church planters, I hope this information proves to be invaluable!

The problem with beginning a New Church is that very few people enjoy the business side of the process.  So for most church planters, they seek advice from someone who went through these steps years ago & barely remember anything about it.  Then they find themselves sitting in a cubicle at the bank, chatting with a lady who is patting them on the head saying, “you poor dear, you have no idea what you are doing, do you?”

I recently talked with a friend who is planting a church.  He asked me: “Why do I need a charter?  You are the first person that has even mentioned it.  What does it do?”  My reply was that he only needed a charter if he wanted to open a bank account and do business as a non-profit church that can receive tax-deductible gifts.  Kind of a big deal!

Here’s the document I’ve put together after walking through this process once & beginning it all over again.  I hope it proves to be helpful and adds clarity to this not so fun side of Church Planting!

CHURCH PLANTER_BUSINESS SET-UP     [Click Here for PDF: (BusinessSet-up_Order)]

1. P.O. BOX

  • You will need two official pieces of I.D. with name & LOCAL Address (Passport, Drivers License, Utilities Bill, Mortgage, Car Ins., etc.)
  • $50 – $100 / Year

2. EIN # (employee identification number)

3. INCORPORATION AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION: “CHARTER”

  • (file with State Government)
  • (State of TN) http://www.tn.gov/sos/forms/ss-4418.pdf
  • $100
  • From my limited understanding, as a church, this status gives you everything needed to receive tax-deductible gifts (i.e., you only need 501-c3 status for claiming larger gifts such as land, stocks, etc).  However for SBC churches it is still recommended to follow the steps indicated in point five.

4. OPEN SMALL BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT with your local bank as a Non-Profit

  • You will need Charter & Official Office Address (P.O. Box is fine)

5. 501-c3 EXEMPTION FOR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Contact the Administrative Director of your State Convention to request a copy of the “Group Exemption” Awarded to the Executive Board of the Tennessee (or your particular state) Baptist Convention.
  • This document states Exemption from Federal Income Tax & Allows Donors to Deduct Contributions given to the local church.  Your State Convention Administrative Director will send you a copy of the document & enclose a cover page letter recognizing your affiliation with the state convention.
  • No Cost! This saves you over $1000 & 9 months of work.  This document is often referred to as 501-c3 status.

6. FILE STATE SALES TAX EXEMPTION FORMS

7. OPEN SAVINGS ACCOUNT (earning small% on start up funds; easy first step to establish emergency fund)

***[8. & 9. can be done later or in some instances not at all]***

8. WRITE BY-LAWS

9. FILE FORM 10-23 WITH IRS UNDER SECTION CODE 501-c3

  • This is if you want to file for individual 501-c3 status outside of the local SBC State Convention (typically not needed)

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Brad Dunlap is NOT a certified accountant and does not claim any legal expertise in the area of finances or governmental tax law.  The statements made above are not guaranteed to be exact.  Please employ or reference the services of a qualified Accountant or Tax Agent for verification, advice, and further assistance.