A Dream of Greater Kingdom Ministry
A Colorado pastor told us how he had become the pastor of a small church that had met in a school for ﬁve years without effective growth. “Members were tired of trying to push the boulder up a hill with only limited success in all areas,” he said. “They were deﬁnitely exhausted by setting up in a school every week for ﬁve years.” Elders in the congregation raised the topic of a potential merger, looking for the right circumstances. They found a growing, “unleashing” kind of church in Bear Valley Church and asked their pastor to approach its leaders.
By all counts, the merger went well. The pastor told us, “It was successful because both churches understood there is no such thing as an even-steven merger. One church must assume the other. We helped our folks see that what mattered most wasn’t “the church of us” but “the church of Jesus.” In other words, we rightfully portrayed this as a way to maximize our Kingdom impact—just the opposite of a corporate take-over. We further helped those in the joining church transition into the larger body by forming a large Sunday adult class, which helped maintain their close fellowship. Eventually most of the new people assimilated into the ministries of the lead church”.
The joining church gave away its old facility to another church that is still using it to this day. “We merged because we could accomplish more kingdom ministry together than by remaining separate,” he concluded. This pastor personally modeled a humility and kingdom mind-set by joining the lead church in an assistant pastor role with only occasional preaching opportunities. Other than wishing he had asked to preach a little more often, he says he has no regrets about the merger.
This is the kind of story we suspect we’ll all hear more about in the years to come.
Jim Tomberlin is founder and senior strategist of MultiSite Solutions, a company dedicated to assisting churches in maximizing their redemptive potential through intensive and insightful multisite and church merger consultation.
Over three decades of diverse ministry, Jim has pastored a church in Germany, grown a megachurch in Colorado and pioneered the multisite strategy for Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. Since 2005 he has been consulting and coaching churches in developing and implementing multi-campus strategies.
As the @MultiSiteGuy Jim continues to track multisite developments and has become the nationally recognized expert on multisite church. In addition, he has become the @MergerGuru on church mergers with nearly a third of his consulting currently involving merger issues.
Jim is the author of 125 Tips for MultiSite Churches, Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work, and Church Locality: New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite, Church Planting and Giga-Church World.
Follow him on his blog at http://multisitesolutions.com/blog.
Jim resides in Scottsdale, AZ and holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Georgia State University in Atlanta and a Masters of Theology (Th.M) from Dallas Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Deryl, have three grown children and nine grandchildren