Are you planning to open a new Church? If yes, read the step-by-step guide on how you can register church in Nigeria. We earlier wrote on how to register an NGO in Nigeria. Although, Churches are NGO, there are slight differences in the registration procedure.
Churches are very important institutions in Nigerian society in that they guide our people to live and behave right, this way we have a better society.
There has been an argument as to whether or not churches should be registered in Nigeria or not.
Another argument is that considering how rich some churches and Nigerian general overseers of these churches are, should churches be taxed?
Yes, some general overseers have private jets and it costs them millions of naira to maintain such jets – so the argument is still on.
These pastors are always quick to condemn that saying that they are a faith based organization and not money oriented. Nigerian pastors are rated amongst some of the richest in the world.
All priests must endeavour to register their churches no matter how little they are. To register a church in Nigeria is important because there is a provision in the constitution that says all churches must be registered.
But how do I register my church in Nigeria? This piece will be my guide as to how I will be able to achieve that.
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Step 1: Choose the right name
Just like every normal business in Nigeria, choosing a right church name is vital to the focus of the church.
Churches do not do the same thing. Some churches are fully into deliverance and healing – and should bear a similar name, others are into evangelism – must allow their focus reflect in their name.
Also, some churches lay emphasis on financial breakthrough and success – their focus should be reflected in their name as people seem to worship in churches to meet their spiritual, psychological and financial desires and aspirations.
So, good effort should be made in this regard to give a name that reflects the major focus of the church.
Choosing the right name helps to attract right worshippers which I must factor in, in my quest to register my church in Nigeria.
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Step 2: Visit the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
The CAC has a legal backing to register a church in Nigeria. Churches fall into the category of incorporated trustees.
The first thing is to check if my desired name is available. If the named is not available, they can suggest to me the ones I should pick from, just like Yahoomail suggesting to a new user who wants to sign up for their mail services the available usernames.
Since I will like to attract worshipers who are interested in success and breakthrough knowing full well that I do not have the power to perform miracles, I can use the name: Divine Home of Success Incorporated.
This name will rightly send the signal that our ministry cares a lot about people’s success and breakthroughs in life, hence the need to dump their church and join mine.
After that they will give me all the requirements to register a church in Nigeria which my reader will get to find out as he or she continues reading this piece.
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Step 3: Visit any 3 national dailies and publish notices
I have to go and advertise in any three (3) national dailies and one of the dailies must be a local newspaper of where my church will be located, Owerri.
This is an important condition attached to opening a church in Nigeria by CAC. Though the commission always prefer to work with chartered accountants, lawyers and chartered secretaries as middleman between pastors and CAC, they often give trustees preferential treatment by often allowing them deal directly with the officials of the commission.
For example, since I wish to open a church in Owerri, I will do the advertisement in Vanguard Newspaper, Punch Newspaper and Imo Trumpta. So, I have to consider that before I register a church in Nigeria.
Step 4: Other CAC requirements
Apart from the requirements mentioned in the previous steps, other requirements include
- 2 copies of my church’s constitution, original newspaper publication,
- 2 formal letter of application signed by secretary and chairman of the board, minutes of the meeting of the church signed by secretary and chairman of the board,
- 2 passport photographs,
- minutes of the meeting of the church where trustees are adopted and signed by secretary and chairman of the board, trustees have to sign against their names and full residential addresses and finally,
- 2 passport photographs of the trustees.
Step 5: Payments
It is noteworthy that this registration is not done free of charge. Churches are expected to raise a bank draft of N20,000 only and pay it in favour of CAC in any church in Abuja.
Note that other charges may be involved and will become even higher if I wish to do it through a lawyer, a chartered accountant or a chartered secretary.
Benefits to Register Church in Nigeria
To register a church in Nigeria has its benefits and they include:
- The church becomes a corporate body. That is, it now has the right to sue and also be sued.
- Power to hold land. The CAC is always interested in incorporated trustees having the capacity to hold lands in Nigeria and it will be granted.
- Legal Personality. No man can single-handedly claim the church is his own no matter how much he or she has invested in the church.
- It has continuous succession. Even in death of its major financiers and board of trustees, it will continue to exist because it is now an incorporated trustee. If the principal officers like pastors die, the churches will inaugurate new members to replace the deceased ones immediately.
To register church in Nigeria is very important because of the benefits above.
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Even though CAC has not been on the clamp down on unregistered churches in Nigeria, efforts should be made by owners and pastors of unregistered churches to give it a corporate look by registering the church.
All priests preach about obeying the laws of the land and behaving right to their congregation, and it would be preposterous if they are found wanting in this regard for their failure to register their churches.
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