Through my experience working with churches I’ve discovered that the idea of “Church Mergers” is met with a variety of emotions, many which are negative. I’ve found that some view it as a cannibalistic way for growing churches to gobble up smaller struggling churches to enlarge their own footprint and grow their brand, not the Kingdom of God. I’ve even seen some churches that would rather die and close their doors than merge with or gift their property to another church.
With all of this negative emotion around the idea of church mergers I thought I’d throw out a couple of questions that may open a more helpful conversation about mergers and maybe even shift some thinking.
What are you going to do with those Kingdom Assets?
There are churches that have a great story of growing and reaching people in the past but have declined and are on “life-support” today. Many of these Kingdom assets are in places like L.A., New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and other areas where the cost of real-estate is a barrier to starting new churches. Why not gift those assets to a thriving and growing church in your state that has a proven and successful multisite model and turn that location into a campus?
Would a Merger Yield Greater Kingdom Results?
If you merged with another church would you experience a greater Kingdom impact together than you would individually? If each church would take more Kingdom ground as an individual autonomous church then by all means they should stay that way. But, if greater ground would be taken together it’s worth a serious conversation.
Do you want this person to be your Sr. Pastor?
Language is important. In a church merger, you’re often leading through a highly emotionally charged situation. Poorly wording things can stop things before they really get going. I’ve found one helpful way to discuss it is to ask the church that is potentially joining your church if they would want your Pastor to be their Pastor? This reframes the conversation and makes it a lot less threatening.
Would you want to adopt the Vision and Practices of the church you’re merging with?
It’s difficult to generate much traction in a church merger conversation if you lead early on with all of the stuff that the joining church is going to have to change. For instance, adopting a new vision, approach to ministry and different practices. That can feel overwhelming and threatening to the joining church. A more palatable way to get into that conversation may be to start with the stories of life-change, momentum and all of the great stuff that God is doing in and through the ministry of your church. Would the potentially joining church like to have that kind of a story and those kinds of results?
Posted in Leadership, Staffing