The need to merge churches is growing ever more crucial as congregations assess how to thrive in cultural diversity and ever-changing times. Every denomination faces the urgency to shift from maintenance to mission, and from survival to renewal. Church Mergers offers churches of all sizes and traditions practical advice on how to merge successfully. Authors Thomas G. Bandy and Page M. Brooks draw on decades of experience to illustrate why and how missional mergers are possible.
Church Mergers guides congregational leaders and regional planners through the process of successful mergers. It shares the stories of four churches in the merger process, explaining the steps to assess their situations, build trust, and discern vision. The book offers guidance to assess the potential for merger, explore contextual relevancy and lifestyle compatibility, overcome internal and external obstacles, define strategic priorities, create new boards, build leadership teams, combine assets, and more. Church Mergers shows that a faithful, healthy, missional merger is possible, and it illustrates that the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts.
Thomas G. Bandy is an internationally recognized consultant, conference speaker, and leadership coach for Christian organizations and faith-based nonprofits. Working across denominations and cultures, he coaches a range of churches. He is the president of Thriving Church Consulting and an associate and author with www.MissionInsite.com. He has been a pastor, planter, and church transformation specialist, and has provided national leadership for the United Church of Canada.
Page M. Brooks is associate professor of theology and culture at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, where he specializes in theology and Islamic studies. An ordained minister, he has served in a variety of settings and denominations, including as a military chaplain and a pastor. He has planted three churches and experienced three church mergers. Currently he is the lead pastor of Canal Street Church: A Mosaic Community in the heart of New Orleans.
Tracing the imaginary journey of several churches, Bandy and Brooks offer up a compelling argument for twenty-first-century church mergers. This book is also good for any church needing revitalization, even if it isn't a candidate for a merger.
Bill Easum, founder and president of The Effective Church Group
Bandy and Brooks offer practical missiological principles for the Church in the West to thrive in a post-Christendom culture. The need for new wineskins is more pressing than ever before, and church mergers will continue to increase as we witness the end of denominationalism. The church merger process cannot be entered into lightly, and Bandy and Brooks give practical step-by-step instructions for all pastors and congregations contemplating on entering the process.
Rosario "Roz" Picardo, executive pastor of New Church Development, Ginghamsburg Church
Just when many would see a potential church merger as really 'giving up' on a church's future, Bandy and Brooks see the potential of merger as 'giving over' to God's mission by reaching out to new people in new places, in new ways, and with new vision. Bandy's works are a staple of my coaching and church consulting work, and the clear step-by-step process offered in Church Mergers is the resource we have been looking for. Bandy and Brooks address every question and every hope for God-sized possibilities.
Lucinda S. Holmes, InConnexion Coaching and Consulting, LLC
The era of proactive and positive church mergers is here. The future for church mergers is bright. Church mergers have often been done badly and out of a panic mode. Bandy and Brooks effectively document the new reality that churches can merge out of promise rather than panic. Use this book to consider and guide your church merger.
George Bullard, president, The Columbia Partnership
Why do some mergers succeed? Open any chapter of this deep dive into rich wisdom and you'll learn much from seasoned consultants who understand the realities of mergers, especially in long-established churches. They offer practical examples of how it can be done through what they propose as the four stages of merger: in principle, in practice, in fact, and in ministry. They are frank in their warning that the single underlying reason for the failure of past mergers is that their vision was too small. But they also show a solution-that of putting focused attention on the overarching vision of mission to the community.
Warren Bird, coauthor of Better Together: Making Healthy Church Mergers Work
Only master-level coaches could have written this book. Packed with detailed strategies, incisive wisdom, and myth-busting data, Church Mergers is the 'Fodor's Guide' to a new beginning in ministry.
Sally Morgenthaler, author of Worship Evangelism
Mergers have become an increasingly popular approach for churches in distress. Unfortunately, mergers are too often promoted for survival rather than strategic reasons. In Church Mergers, Bandy and Brooks have provided a way to think through the strategic necessities of a merger. Using their combined experience in creative ministry and expertise in church demographic and lifestyle analysis, they show the reader how mergers can be used to develop approaches to ministry that can result in disciple making churches. This book is for pastors, denominational leaders, and church members who are considering mergers.
Dan Jackson, Director of New Church Development, Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Bandy and Brooks thoroughly unpack the perils and promise of church mergers. This essential guidebook will lead churches contemplating merger toward clarity of purpose and vision so that they gain traction in fulfilling their God-ordained mission. This is an absolute must read resource for judicatory leaders as well as pastors and laity involved in church mergers.
Douglas Ruffle, Interim Associate General Secretary/Executive Director-Path 1, New Church Starts, Discipleship Ministries