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What to Do Before Merging Churches

Written by Collin Hansen on . Posted in The Gospel Coalition Blog

Article by: Collin Hansen

Young church plant needs a building. Older church needs a pastor and hope for the future. So why not merge? It’s an increasingly common scenario in our day. How can you know, then, if this is the right move for your church? What can you learn from other churches that have attempted this process, so fraught with hidden dangers for both sides? I’ve seen it attempted dozens of times, and I’ve even seen it work well in a few cases. Let’s investigate biblical principles and best practices so more of these mergers turn out as win-win situations for the kingdom of God.  

On today’s podcast, I talk with two pastors who have walked through successful church mergers. Mike McKinley is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. He was on staff at Capitol Hill Baptist Church before becoming the pastor of Guilford Baptist Church, which merged with Sterling Park in 2013.

Shawn Wright was a part of Trinity Baptist, a church planted in Louisville in 1996, which merged with Clifton Baptist Church in 2001. Wright now serves as pastor of leadership development at Clifton. 

We talked about their experiences and what they’ve learned about merging churches.

You can listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast here.

Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists, and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, co-edited Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, and co-edits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.

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