In this season, many churches have been stalled by their plateaued or declining attendance, while other congregations are thriving and making an impact. 94% of all churches in the country are losing ground against the communities they serve. That means that if this trend continues, the message of Jesus will in turn lose ground in cities across the country. Is there a way for churches to combine forces and draw on each other’s strengths to increase the impact of the message of Jesus? While 2020 has presented challenges for some churches, it has offered unique opportunities for others. This might be the perfect year for your church to consider church mergers to drive the message of Jesus forward.
In some ways, the pressure of coronavirus and the resulting economic fallout is simply accelerating changes that already existed before this crisis came into play. While it’s still too early to gain a statistical analysis on exactly what’s happening, it does seem like churches that were struggling before coronavirus continue to struggle now at an even deeper level because of debt and leadership issues. On the other hand, churches that are thriving are using this season to reach new people, expand their influence and ultimately see more people get connected with the message of Jesus.
I believe there’s no better time than today for your church to consider church mergers.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of churches involved in church mergers. Joining churches are those looking to combine their ministry with a stronger church to further their mission. Lead churches are churches with more momentum that are looking to potentially adopt or rebirth another church.
I’ve been a part of multiple church mergers. In my experience, something incredible happens in the heart of a leader when they connect with the bigger vision of what God is doing and ultimately work together with other believers to see the mission of Jesus grow. It’s humbling to see what takes place in a church as it turns around to pursue that mission.
3 Reasons this is a Great Season for Church Mergers:
Your Mission is Bigger Than the Troubles COVID-19 Brought
Why did God start your church? What was the original vision behind why the church started? What is it that has animated your church for all these years?
That mission is so much bigger than any troubles brought on by this current crisis. The missional drive to connect with people and to care for your community is bigger than the problems that your church is facing.
If you and your leaders are not sure what step to take next because of the pressure that COVID has put on your church, then this is a perfect season to consider becoming a joining church.
Now is the time for you and your leadership to ask the question, “What other churches have a similar heart as us and have a similar mission that we could potentially join with?”
This could be the time for your church to consider joining a lead church via church mergers in order to pursue the mission that God has given you.
If it’s just financial resources and leadership that’s holding you back, then maybe the answer for you is to join with a lead church. Before you consider closing or any other drastic measures, consider joining with another church in this season.
Pastoring People Means Making Tough Calls
You know that you started leading in the local church to make a difference. Over the years, you’ve had to make a lot of tough calls.
The pastoral leaders in joining churches are some of the bravest leaders I’ve ever seen. It takes a lot of internal drive and gumption to lead your church through the experience of dying in order to be reborn and rebirthed, to be a part of a resurrection of the church.
You’ve been caring for and loving these people. Now is the time to create the kind of structure that will ensure that the ministry will continue on, albeit in a different form, for years to come. This will be a tough call, but you’re used to caring for people in tough ways.
Others Have Gone Before You
If you’re considering becoming a joining church in this season, you should reach out to other leaders in churches that have been a part of a merge to learn about their experience.
(If you’re looking for some personal references, reach out to me. I’m happy to point you in the right direction.)
The reality is that church mergers are becoming increasingly normalized across the country as joining churches like yours consider how to continue the mission in a new form in their communities. We’ve seen time and again how these mergers, when done right with thoughtful, caring leaders like yourself, can ultimately produce more fruit and help churches reach even more people.
You can be confident that if you walk through this in a measured and caring way with the right lead church, you will see an acceleration of your mission, not a deceleration.
4 Reasons Lead Churches Should Accelerate Merger Plans
The Big-C Church is Bigger than Your Church
Your church is a great outpost of the kingdom of God and maybe over the last few years, you’ve seen increased effectiveness. You’ve been reaching people and seeing them get connected to your church. You’ve found a way to communicate that seems to resonate within your culture. That’s great, but the Church is bigger than your individual local church.
God is already at work in the communities around you and there are churches that could use your help. Although your church might have a lot to offer as a lead church, joining churches have much to bring to the table as well. They bring length of service in a community. They bring deep relationships. They bring the ability to localize the ministry in a way that you may not be able to if you just launched another campus in that location.
The Church is bigger than yours.