Does Your Church Pass the Test?

From the White Horse Inn Blog, an interesting piece about the IRS requirement for a church which seeks to become a church.  A federal court recently rejected the “Foundation for Human Understanding” appeal when the IRS revoked their church status.

Here is a list of requirements the IRS uses to determine whether or not your organization is a church:

  • a distinct legal existence
  • a recognized creed and form of worship
  • a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government
  • a formal code of doctrine and discipline
  • a distinct religious history
  • a membership not associated with any other church or denomination
  • an organization of ordained ministers
  • ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed studies
  • a literature of its own
  • established places of worship
  • regular congregation
  • regular religious services
  • Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young; and
  • schools for the preparation of its ministers

How many churches have Sunday schools for children for instruction rather than simply for baby sitting?  Many non-denominational churches allow its ministers and pastors lead without official ordination or schooling.  I think it is funny that the federal government requires more of churches than the churches themselves.

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