From our Ten Things the ROGO Foundation has Learned About Church Mergers series:
#4 -Some Mergers Take Time.
Many churches that find themselves in decline weren’t always in trouble. The pastor has a particular way of doing things. The board members or elders have a system to assist the pastor that has worked for generations. The church members have their self assigned seats, ministries they believe in and have run for as many generations. Usually, the decline is due to this exact thing. No one wants to change. It is how it has always been. It is familiar, routine, everyone knows everyone else, and they like it that way. They don’t see a need for it to change and, in reality, are dead set against change even if it means the church might close.
You can’t go at your own pace.
It takes time for people to work through the various stages of change. A merger will be virtually impossible if the church body is not given the time and space to accept that change will be good for the church. The lead church must make sure that the members of the joining church see the need for change and be ready and willing to make the change in a patient, compassionate, and empathetic way.
The lead church must go at the pace of the joining church’s members.
The lead church must have, above all, a love for God’s people and the foresight that with time, relationships, and trust will form. And only then can a church member, that has been vocal about not wanting a merger, accept that it may be the best thing for the church.
For information on our eight church mergers visit our impact page.