What is your view of church mergers?

According to a number of sources, evangelical (and fundamental) Christianity is quickly shrinking in the US while expanding in many other nations.  As younger people typically leave the church in droves (2 out of 3, only in this case not coming back as in the past), many churches are just now beginning to notice the problem.  In some regions, the problem is not as obvious as in others.

Older people that support churches gave three to four times (as a percentage of their income) when they were younger, so, unless something changes, that means giving will eventually be down 70%. [Source: The Great Evangelical Recession].

One likely outcome of this is church closures and mergers.  What opinions, experiences, and observations have you made about churches that merge?  Please share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The assumption is that merging churches are of similar belief and that neither church is more that three times as big as the smaller church. We are also assuming a careful evaluation and study preceding a choice to merge.

Because there are more than one choice that may apply, experience trumps opinion.  If your church has actually merged, your experience is what you should vote upon.




Church mergers are generally a bad idea, even if done "right"
0% (0 votes)
Church mergers are generally a good idea if done right.
63% (5 votes)
I am undecided as to whether this is a good idea or not.
38% (3 votes)
Our church merged and I am not pleased.
0% (0 votes)
Our church merged and I am undecided or uncertain.
0% (0 votes)
Our church merged and I am generally pleased.
0% (0 votes)
Other (be sure to read explanations in first post)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 8
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There are 2 Comments

Larry Nelson's picture


...merging two entities results in both entities having to undergo an examination of their individual strengths and weaknesses. 

In 25 years in banking, I have been involved in numerous bank merger projects.  Usually, different cultures, objectives, practices, policies, and (even) traditions need to be evaluated.  (Sometimes hard) questions of why something is done a particular way get asked.  It's not what some might expect: it isn't simply a matter of the acquiring bank unilaterally imposing its will on the acquired bank.  When the acquired bank is doing something in a better way, it would be foolish to insist that they adapt to some inferior practice.  No, it's in everyone's best interests to draw from the best practices, procedures, and policies of both---with the desired outcome being that the sum become greater that its parts. 

I picture a successful merger of churches being like that.  Pride & arrogance would have to give way to humility, and the best of both would be collectively retained---each gaining something through the process.   [Please note: I'm not referring to any doctrinal differences, lest anyone jump to that conclusion.  Doctrinal differences obviously would/should be a non-starter in terms of a church merger.] 

Ron Bean's picture

One of the things I've observed in church mergers is that unless one or both of the merging churches are willing to surrender everything but doctrine, there will be some sort of negative fallout. One or both of the churches should be willing create a new church.

BTW, a considerable number of those "younger people" that are leaving churches are finding homes in other Bible believing churches that are different than the ones in which they grew up.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan