What Is A Private Ministerial Association And Why Do You Need It?

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Private Ministerial Association (PMAs) have long been a way for businesses to protect themselves against government intervention, regulations, taxation and control. Through PMAs, businesses can operate within the confines of their own rules and regulations, providing protection to their members and enjoying freedoms that public law may not allow. It’s important that PMAs are properly-formed to allow members to experience the protection and benefits a PMA provides.

Understanding a PMA and how it works can help you determine if it’s the right path for your business. Do you need a PMA? Let’s explore some of the benefits.

What is a PMA?

A PMA is a Private Ministerial Association. PMAs provide groups with the opportunity to form their own association, determining the practices, codes and services that define the association and serve as a space for members to share best practices and advice while facilitating discussion and learning opportunities around a common interest. PMAs exist for a range of industries and professions including healthcare and accounting, but could apply to a shared interest such as a hobby or a sport.

PMAs have a unique place within the law which means they are generally protected from the law unless members are subjected to “a clear and present danger of a substantial evil”. The right to assemble and associate is detailed in the First Amendment, and therefore a human right in the United States.

Public vs. Private Organizations

There are some key differences between public and private organizations.

A public organization has a duty to carry out its responsibilities and functions for the public and is therefore governed by the Government and the law. In the healthcare industry, for example, this includes the American Public Health Association. These organizations are typically not-for-profit, and serve to provide protection, resources and guidance to their members.

A private organization, meanwhile, serves its members and ensures that matters relating to the organization and its members remain private. As they operate privately under the right to assemble, they largely have immunity from federal and State laws.

You may find that there are private and public membership organizations that are related to your interest, or you may want to start your own.

Types of PMAs

There are many different types of PMAs, and some examples include Homeowners Associations, Private Drinking Clubs, Fraternities, Private Membership associations and more. While they may have different names and remits, any private organization consisting of members could be deemed a PMA.

Private Ministerial Associations may sometimes be referred to as Private Membership Associations, however they are different in a few key areas and functions. A Private Ministerial Association (Ministry = Governing Body) leads to a more robust PMA than a Private Membership Association as they can have multiple Membership Associations under one umbrella.

For example, when a Private Membership Association or a private members association is formed you would not need to create a new membership association for any new ventures you may start; such as health, education, etc. With a Private Ministerial Association you can create multiple “Projects” under this formation and prevent the need to create multiple founding documents to legitimize the PMA.

How a PMA Protects You

The main aim of a PMA is to protect its members from possible legal scrutiny, while also being able to operate without the regulation that the law can put in place. When you join a PMA, you join on the basis that you will operate within and adhere to the rules and guidelines outlined by the PMA, and receive the protection of the association in return.

Provided the PMA has been properly-formed, with the founding documents clear in the protections the association or organization provides, being a member of a PMA could provide you with a number of benefits for your job role and industry.

The Freedom People can help set up your PMA

While you may wish to find an existing PMA to join, you can also benefit from setting up your own PMA, helping you to set a clear outline for your activities and how you want to run and govern your business. This can sound like a complicated process, but that is why The Freedom People are here to help. You may be wondering, how to setup a private member association or a PMA, call us today and we can help.

The Freedom People are experts at PMA establishment, helping businesses and individuals across a range of sectors get started with their PMA. We’ve helped countless organizations establish a private ministerial association that enables them to avoid the public scrutiny that many businesses face, and help empower businesses to run themselves privately.

We can advise on everything from what you need to set up a PMA, including creating your foundation documents and ensuring your SS-4 documents are filed correctly. We can do this for a total of $2500, which includes:

  • Articles of Association
  • Bylaws
  • Membership Terms
  • Membership Waiver
  • Certification of PMA
  • 508(c)(1)(a) setup
  • PMA Starter Kit

Using The Freedom People to kick-start your PMA can help bring the freedom your business needs to thrive. Find out more about our services and sign up today to start your very own private membership organization. We also host a podcast where you can find out more!


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  1. Angela Erickson

    Interesting. Researching if my business that is has state oversight can become a PMA.

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