Jim Tomberlin is a guy who knows what he’s talking about. In his most recent book, Better Together, Jim unpacks the new context in which churches are merging, how to execute a church merger in a healthy way, and how to determine if that is the best next step for your church. The good news is, Jim is not just some researcher in a lab coat. He pioneered the multisite movement with great success. (If you're looking for a great resource about going multisite, check out Jim's eBook, 125 Tips for Multisite Churches.)
Better Together is filled with hard data and real world examples of successful church mergers. Tomberlin and his co-author, Warren Bird, report on facts regarding mergers and multisite churches that might surprise you.
Did you know that most church mergers consist of two churches running 200 or less in total? But large churches such as Mars Hill in Washington and LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma have also adopted the model, too.
Better Together has so much useful content that I simply can’t cover it all in one post, but I’d like to highlight perhaps the most important aspect: measuring success.
How can you tell if your merger is effective? Jim and Warren identify three characteristics of the successful church merger:
Within one year, the church will begin to adapt and embrace the change.
- Grow in people and finances
Within three years, attendance and financial base will grow by at least 10 percent.
- Be able to replicate
Within five years, more than half of the volunteers will be people who joined after the merger. The church will be moving toward more replication.
Whether your church is thriving or struggling, pick up this book and learn more about the trends of church mergers. And follow Jim on Twitter.
So what are your hesitations about a church merger? Do you think it is the answer to church vitality?