Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work
April 2012, Jossey-Bass
Part One: The New Merger Landscape 1
1. God Is Doing Something New: Biblical Basis for Mergers 3
2. Four Models for Healthy Mergers 21
3. Missional, Multisite, Multiethnic, and Other Merger Motives 35
Part Two: How Healthy Church Mergers Work 61
4. Stages and Speed of a Merger 63
5. How to Measure Success 77
6. Why Mergers Fail 91
7. Financial and Legal Aspects of a Merger 105
8. Personnel Changes 117
Part Three: Your Next Steps 127
9. Determining Whether Your Church Is a Good Merger Candidate 129
10. How to Start the Merger Conversation 149
11. Self-Assessment for Merger Readiness 161
12. Exercise: Identifying Your Merger Issues 167
13. Managing Pain and Change 177
14. Where Do You Go from Here? 187
A. Merger Process Checklist 195
B. Example of Merger Issues to Resolve 198
C. FAQs Example from Bethany–Sun Valley Churches 206
D. FAQs Example from Ginghamsburg Church 216
E. FAQs Example from Woodside Bible Church 220
F . FAQs on Preparing for a Merger Vote 223
G. Churches Named 225
H. Merger Research 229
The Authors 241
Jim Tomberlin, Th.M., is an ordained minister who has served in a variety of ministries, including pioneering the multisite strategy at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. He is the founder of MultiSite Solutions, devoted to multisite and merger consultation.
Warren Bird, Ph.D., an ordained minister, is the research director at Leadership Network. He has conducted numerous interviews and surveys on topics of church restarts, church planting, multisites, and mergers, and is the coauthor of twenty-three books including Culture Shift, Viral Churches, and The Other 80 Percent, all from Jossey-Bass.
How Church Mergers Can Revitalize Struggling Congregations
San Francisco, CA - In response to overall declines in membership, North American churches are seeking new strategies to combat this trend. Many, at an unprecedented level, are uniting with each other--two churches becoming one new entity or as co-authors Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird coin - BETTER TOGETHER (Jossey-Bass, March 2012, ISBN:978-1-118-13130-5, $24.95 / Cloth / also available as an e-book). Tomberlin and Bird show that church mergers today work best not with two struggling churches but with a vital, momentum-filled lead church partnering with a joining church.
This movement is happening within and across denominations and is even rising in popularity among non-denominational churches. Many leaders are faced with questions like, "Is there a way for them to combine forces, drawing on both their strengths, in ways that also increase their missional impact?"
BETTER TOGETHER provides a complete, practical, hands-on guide for church leaders of both struggling and vibrant churches so that they can understand the issues, develop strategies, and execute a variety of forms of merger for church expansion and renewal to reinvigorate declining churches and give them a "second life."
This book is a must-have, practical guide for all leaders of churches who are looking to figure out the best ways to unite, join, or merge into stronger, healthier congregations.