Why the assertion that running a church is like running a business? Churches ideally are not meant to be a business organisation. However, in Nigeria and some other countries, churches are turning to business organizations raking millions and billions of Naira monthly. The economic situation of Nigeria has led many Christians to believe that the only solution to their problems is to partake in church activities frequently.
Smart Nigerians now cash on the fact that some Nigerians are desperate, they set up churches promising to solve all problems, in the process, these desperate churchgoers spend a lot of cash to get solutions to their problems. Do they get these solutions? The answer is left for the readers of this note.
We will be deceiving ourselves if we deny that entrepreneurship is not in today’s church. In poor countries like Nigeria, people see religion as the solution to all their worries. According to Karl Max, religion is the opium of the masses.[irp posts=”152″ name=”How a Witch Doctor makes N15 million monthly”]
Steps to take to start a church
Choose an attractive name
You have decided to start a church whether legitimate or illegitimate. It is now time to choose a name for your church. You should choose a very attractive name that will resonate among the masses in Nigeria. Names having ‘God’ and ‘Christ’ are very attractive. A good name will put your church business in a good standing.
Register the Church Business Name with CAC
Churches are termed as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) or Not for profit organizations under the laws of Nigeria. To obey the laws of the land, you should register the name of your church with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). If the name is approved by the CAC, you will be given a certificate of registration. Your church must have trustees.
Open a Bank Account
Now that you have registered your church with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), you will need to open a bank account with a good bank in Nigeria. The bank will ask you to fill an account opening form; the trustees of the church will sign some portions of the account opening form.
After a bank account has been opened, you need to request for Point of Sale (POS) machines, these machines will be put at strategic places in your church so that people can pay their tithes, offerings, first fruit and other donations to the church through the POS machines.
The bank can also help you to put a payment gateway on your website so that your members or other admirers of your church can send money to the church by paying with their debit or credit cards on your church’s website.
Rent a place for the Church
You should rent a spacious property with parking space for the church. Renting in locations with high foot traffic is advantageous as the probability that people will visit the church is high.
Also, having your church is urban areas is better, though there are several churches in rural areas making a lot of money.
Buy Assets for the Church
You will need to buy chairs, few tables, altar table, microphone, projectors, drums and band set, power generator, fans, air conditioners, bibles, hymn books, tithe cards and carpets.
Employ members of staff
In the case of the church, pastors, choir members, ushers and other church workers are members of staff. Some are paid while some are not paid. The unpaid ones are paid in kind (blessings from God and heavenly rewards).
You can serve as the main pastor if you have good bible knowledge, good oral skills and ability to easily convince people.
If you do not have the skills required of a good pastor, you can enroll in a bible college or employ someone who can act as the pastor while you serve as the real owner with the only access to the finances of the church.
Employ ushers and choir members. You should employ more of ladies because they naturally possess good communication and empathic skills. Initially, you can pay these members of staff, when your church has grown with several people, you can stop paying them and tell them that God will reward them for their services.
You need to employ good marketers, these are people that will go for evangelism, you may not pay this set of people but convince them that God will pay them back with miracles. Your members of staff especially the ushers and choir masters must look pretty and neat.
It is a must you contract out your digital marketing work to experts, these experts will improve the image of your church on the internet and social media.
Build a website
Your church needs an online presence. You need to design and build a website. You also need to open accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can manage this yourself but if you need quick result, its better you outsource to an expert digital/social media expert.
Your website should do email marketing i.e. the website will collect visitors’ email addresses and phone number, you can later send daily or weekly newsletter to the email addresses. With time, the name of your church will go viral.
How to Generate Income for your Church Business
Church leaders make a lot of Christians believe that it is a sin if you do not pay tithes. Tithe according to these men of God is 10% of your monthly salary or earnings. Failure to pay this will lead to disaster or misfortunes according to a lot of church owners.
To make people pay their tithe, you have to interpret some bible verses to back up your claims that payment of monthly tithe is a must for Christians. Use fear strategy that if they don’t pay, their problems will magnify and they will burn in fire for eternity when they die. With this strategy, a lot of your members will pay their tithes.
Sending monthly reminders with brief bible message about tithes to your members through email or text messages is not a bad idea.
Offering is the money collected from members of a church during Sunday or weekly service. This money is meant for the upkeep of the church. If your membership base is large or you have some affluent members, offerings may constitute a significant percentage of your income.
You will need to tell your members that if they pay offerings, God will replenish their pocket by hundred or thousand folds. Always back your preaching around offering with bible verses.
Church members can be asked to donate during special service or for special purposes. Example of these special purposes include donations for poor members of the church, donations for God to bless you before the end of the month, donations for marriage, donations for job opportunities, donations for God to kill your enemies, donations to free you from evil forces and donations for men of God etc.
One of the strategies to boosting the income of your church is to ask members to sow fruits so that God can bless than abundantly. This sowing of fruits can be in cash or kind. Members can donate their cars, land and even houses to the church. You tell members of your church that if they want God’s special blessings, they should sow.
Strategies to generate Income and increase membership base
Staging of miracles
You should make sure that miracles are performed in your church. If you cannot perform real miracles, you can organize with some of your members of staff and trusted members of the congregation to stage fake miracles.
Staging of miracles is not enough to boost the income of the church. You need to court attention at all costs. This means that you should let people know about your miracles through radio/TV programmes, social media, internet marketing and words of mouth etc.
It is common to see pastors in Nigeria predicting events especially during the New Year. Some of these men of god also predict events that will happen to you. Because of the nature of Nigerians, we believe what pastors tell us about our lives. You should also predict what will happen to people and tell them you can wade off impending evil.
You should take out advert spaces in popular newspaper and predict events about Nigeria. Examples of these predictions are God will deal with corrupt politicians this year, the economy will be turbulent this year and there will be a lot of killings during the elections this year etc.
Testimonies and False Stories
You can organize people to come to your church to give false testimonies and stories. Testimonies like I came to the man of God as a blind man, he prayed for me and I instantly regained my sight; I have been barren for 10 years, pastor prayed for me and I got pregnant the night I copulated with my husband; I was not qualified for a job but I got the job, I now earn N2 million monthly, thanks for pastor that prayed for me and I was not qualified for a migrant visa to the US but the man of God prayed for me and I got the visa, I was shocked because I never merited the visa.
False stories you will tell your congregation as the pastor may be like I was in a boat going to Ikorodu Lagos, the boat capsized and I was under water for 2 hours, to the glory of God, I came out of the water alive after 2 hours, everybody died in the boat accident except me; in my dream, I saw a witch (a woman I know beside my house) saying some incantations in order to kill me, I commanded him in the power of my God to die, when I woke up, I heard cries of sorrow in the house of the witch, I went there and I was told the witch had died this morning.
Digital Marketing/Social Media Marketing
Marketing is gradually changing; we have more people today who check the internet for information or reviews about any subject. This has made companies and other bodies to prefer to sell, cross-sell and market their products and services on the internet.
Updating your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) 3-10 times daily with words of God, bible verses, testimonies and attractive images may help in increasing your social media followers.
Using email marketing pop-ups on your website asking your website visitors to drop their email addresses and phone numbers so that the church can pray for them, solve their problems and make them experience miracles.
You can use TV/Radio adverts, posters and brochures to attract people to your church. The wordings of these adverts must be very creative and attractive. The advert must show that your church will solve people’s problems.
Brochure detailing the church’s activities is also a very important marketing tool.
Pay for Performance
You must devise a way to pay those who bring people to your church. Avoid paying cash to them as this will look too glaring that you are paying for what they did for your church. If the people bringing members to your church are your members, you can offer their children scholarship or give grants to those with small businesses.
Generosity to few
Spending 10-20% of your net income as a church for voluntary activities is not a bad idea. Generosity to few is a strategy to disarm your critics, doing this can also count as social responsibility. People will appreciate your efforts and it may bring more members to your church.
You should do everything possible to put fear in the mind of the members of your church by telling them anybody who does not believe what you preach will suffer misfortune on earth and also go to a place where they will burn in fire for eternity after death.
Continue to preach that they should know that criticising their pastor means disobeying God which will attract stiff penalty.
Yes, you can make N10 million running a church every month, there are churches that make more. Most churches in Nigeria are set up as business ventures and not necessarily as a church.
The opportunities are limitless; we have churches richer than commercial banks and oil companies in Nigeria. Is this for you? Please share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other forums.