Church mergers may be called by many names, but the core idea is that two or more churches becoming one through the combining, integrating and unifying of people, structures, systems, and resources to achieve a common purpose: To do life and ministry together as a vibrant, healthy expression of Christ’s body, the Church.
You might be interested in knowing 10 interesting facts and figures about church mergers to dispel common myths:
All mergers are not alike. Most are rebirths (restart), few are marriages (healthy merger of equals), many are adoptions (between a rebirth and a marriage) and the least successful are ICU mergers (union of two dying churches on life-support).
The majority of church mergers are between a “lead” church (usually larger and healthier) and a “joining” church (usually smaller) rather than between two equal churches.
The majority of mergers involve a name change, usually of the joining church.
The majority of mergers occur within 30 minutes driving distance of one another.
The majority of church mergers retain the senior pastor of the joining church though usually in a different role than campus pastor.
The majority of mergers are initiated by the joining church.
The average length of merger process beginning with initial conversation to merger completion is seven months.
Half of all mergers involving two facilities become multisite, a fourth sell a facility and a fourth use the facility for other purposes.
Mergers that become multisite report higher rate of satisfaction than those who become monosite.
The majority of mergers take a vote at both churches with an 80-100% “yes” response.
Church Merger Cost Facts
Categories & Subsequent 12 Months
- Debt payment/retirement
- Facility renovations including new technology and equipment
- Attorney and legal fees
- Consulting fees
- Honoring existing commitments such as monthly support for a missionary, severance for staff or supported missionaries
- Publicity and branding (signage, stationary, website, etc.)
- Ongoing staff salaries
- Mortgage or rent
Average Church Merger Costs by Church Size
- Under 200 in combined attendance: $18,000
- 200-999 in combined attendance: $73,000
- 1,000-1,999 in combined attendance: $635,000
- Over 2,000 in combined attendance: $469,000
Is there a merger in your future? Take a few moments to answer the diagnostic questions below to see if a merger may be in your future.
- How would you categorize your church—strong, stable, stuck or struggling? Are you dissatisfied with that status?
- Is your church stable, stuck or struggling and dissatisfied with that status?
- Is your church growing and in need of more space?
- Could your church mission be accomplished better through a merger with another church?
- Is your church without a pastor or having difficulty finding one?
- Has your church been approached by another church to consider merging?
- Does your church want to merge with another church but needs some help in getting started?
- Is your church facing financial challenges, unable to meet its financial obligations or maintain its facilities?
- Could your local community be better served by merging with another church?
- Is your church currently multisite or open to becoming a multisite church?
- Could the kingdom of God be further extended by merging with another church?
If you could answer “yes” to any of these questions, your church may be a good candidate to merge with another church.