Straight up: if you are assuming debt in the form of a mortgage or other long-term commitments, you need to consider very carefully whether your church can carry that load.
We want to ensure that the financial institutions that are expecting to be repaid actually get repaid so that your church can move forward. Don’t just blow past or ignore the financial entanglement that is about to happen with the merger. Evaluate it and consider its full impact on your financial operations.
4. Church Mergers – Mutual State of Decline
There used to be church mergers where two struggling churches would pool their resources to try to bounce back and have an influence. This is not a particularly promising idea.
Two organizations that are unclear on how to impact their community, raise the required financial resources, release volunteers, or develop leaders won’t get better at those things when they come together.
If your church is looking at joining another church, avoid churches that appear to be in decline. Combining two churches that are struggling will not somehow magically produce a church that suddenly thrives. Unless there is a change in the trajectory of where a church is going, then it won’t be able improve at what God has called it to do.
5. Church mergers – “It’s Just An Asset Acquisition”
If you’re a lead church considering mergers and your primary reason for doing so is to acquire assets that could help your church’s balance statement, please don’t merge with other churches.
There is a high level of hard work that needs to be done to honor the generation that is passing on the asset to your church. If you think of these churches as just buildings that you can slap your brand onto, you are mistaken. These churches have been in their communities for years, or even decades, and you have the privilege of joining with another church in order to see amazing things happen in the community. Of course, there’s often an asset transfer in a church merger and that tends to be a positive outcome for your church. However, if that’s all it’s about for you as a lead church, I would caution you from moving forward.
Similarly, if you’re joining church and all you see is a building, you’re missing the opportunity to have your people join this new venture and see amazing things happen. I love seeing church leaders who have joined with the lead churches become reactivated in their leadership and service and re-energized with what God has in store for their community. Look at this as a positive way to get people more engaged in the mission of Jesus.
More help for you as you think about church mergers
There’s no doubt that church mergers are a hot topic, and we want to help you as you look for resources to make these mergers go better. Click here to download an audio recording and a PDF that will help your leadership team as you think about church mergers. Here’s what you’ll find:
- An interview with Kristy Rutter where she talks through the best practices of being engaged in a church merging process. (Kristy has since passed away after a battle with cancer. She was one of the clearest voices and practitioners in this area and I was honored to interview her about her experiences.)
- A PDF download from Portable Church Industries on what every multisite should know for a merger conversation. This PDF offers some food for thought and acts as a great discussion starter as you and your team wrestle with campus expansion.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.