The first step in being able to legally run a Christian Outreach Ministry is to find out what your local city and state government requirements are. These do vary from state to state. In Virginia it is necessary to have a ministers license and verification of ordination from your pastor. A degree from a bible college is not required, but does aid in credibility. If you are not part of an organized Church and do not have a pastor to license/ordain you, there are ways to obtain the credentials you need.
Step two is walking out the process to satisfy your city/state government. I completed an online Associate Degree in Biblical Studies from The Sure Foundation Theological Institute in March 2009. In July of that same year, after outlining my ministry plans, I applied for and received a ministers License from The Sure Foundation. Each July which is the beginning of their fiscal year I must detail for them what I have done in ministry and renew my license for a fee. The funds help them offer discounted degrees to people in third world countries.
My third step was to be ordained. I was disappointed to find that The Sure Foundation no longer does ordinations.This is normally done by a pastor on behalf of one of his ministers in good standing. I talked with several ministers who said the only difference between a licensed minister and one who is ordained is that the ordained minister is registered with legal right to do weddings, baptisms, funerals and baby dedications, the same as a pastor. I called the local city government office and was told that for $10 fee I could be registered if I had a letter of recommendation signed by at least two local ministers saying I was in good standing within the community. I complied and now was registered with the state of Virginia without a pastor doing an ordination service.
Step four was to register my ministry name which is Household of Faith. This was done for a fee of $10 and I received documentation that I had the legal right to do business with this name. And this includes opening bank accounts.
Step five was obtaining Nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service. In the state of Virginia all Non Profit organizations must fill out a mountain of paper work to obtain 5012C tax exempt status. And pay close to $400. After numerous calls to the IRS, and talking with other outreach ministers I was elated to find out that if I were not going to be receiving large donations I did not have to go through the 5013C status process. And as a minister I am already unofficially a non profit official. Therefore if I do not charge for any services but someone gives me a free will gift such as $40.00 to do speak perform a wedding or funeral, it is considered a gift and does not have to be reported to the IRS.