What is a Church Plant Registered Agent?

what is a registered agent

If you’re filing paperwork to incorporate a new church, you’re probably asking…

What is a Church Plant Registered Agent?

When you incorporate in your state, there are certain requirements that are common:

  • a place of business – a physical address, not a PO Box
  • Incorporator(s) – the names & addresses of the persons that are calling the incorporation into existence by filing this paperwork
  • a Registered Agent – their name & physical address
  • etc…

Also know as an Agent for Service of Process or Statutory Agent, your church plant Registered Agent is the State’s liaison with the new corporation. They are not directly legally liable for the corporation. The state just wants to know where to send the sheriff if they have to serve subpoena papers.

Requirements of a Registered Agent

Your Registered Agent can be either:

  1. a natural person
  2. a corporation (there are businesses you can hire to be your agent)

If you go with a person (cheaper), they will need to be a resident of the state you’re incorporating in and have a physical address in that state. The sheriff isn’t going to serve papers at a PO Box and they’re not going to cross state lines. And the agent has to be normally available during business hours at that address.

The agent can be you, the church planter, if you already live in the state where you’re planting (even if you’re not in the target community yet). But if you’re still living out of state, you’ll have to find someone to pinch hit for you. If it’s not you, find:

  • a friend
  • an on-site launch team member
  • a denominational leader
  • a network church representative
  • if all else fails, hire an agent

They need to know you’ve named them, and depending on the state, may also have to sign an acknowledgement that gets filed as part of your incorporation. So ask them nicely and direct them to this post for an explanation of what they’re signing up for.

Don’t Forget!

If your church plant Registered Agent moves or you change the agent to be yourself because you’ve moved on site, you must let your state know immediately (though there’s usually a 30-60 day grace period). Some states will dissolve your corporation if you forget and they find out. D’oh!

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