Church Merger FAQs
Worshiping Together FAQ:
Some Questions and Answers about a possible merger between Northwest Community Church and Living Hope Community Church
How common are church mergers?
Not that common. According to Leadership Network, about 2 percent of US Protestant churches merge annually, which is about 6000 congregations.
How did the possibility of merging with Living Hope happen?
Several months ago, Pastor Dan approached Pastor Dave about the possibility of combining our two Children’s Ministries. After brainstorming how that might work, the idea of a possible church merger came out of those discussions.
Why do we want to possibly merge?
There are many reasons. However, they can all be summarized by one big idea: we believe we can be better together. With combined resources, gifts, and people, there is a possibility that we can be more effective in ministry in NW Tucson and beyond.
Living Hope and Northwest have already participated in a variety of joint activities over the past several years, including combined worship services, Vacation Bible School, special Holiday Services, and filling the pulpit when a pastor is unavailable. Through these times together, both churches have blended well, and the reaction from both churches coming together for these events has been overwhelmingly positive.
When would this possible merger happen?
While there has been no firm date set, we are tentatively considering January 1, 2019 as a target date, should this summer’s Worship Together project go well.
Would we move to Northwest’s building, and would we become a part of the Brethren Church?
Yes, and Yes. Northwest will stay at its current location, and Living Hope will join them there. And should a merger ultimately happen, the combined congregation would be a part of the Brethren Church. As a part of a merger, both Pastor Dave and Cory would pursue ordination with the Brethren Church.
Will Living Hope change its name?
This is a distinct possibility. In a church merger, we are trying to create a new organization from 2 existing churches. Therefore, it’s possible that the merged group will assume a new name. However, it’s also possible that the new merged organization will exist under the name Northwest Community Church. A less likely (but still possible) scenario is that the new organization will be called Living Hope. But at this time, that decision has not been made.
What will the staffing look like?
Not all of the details have been worked out with staffing. However, our preliminary discussions have involved Pastor Dan from Northwest becoming the Senior Pastor, with Pastor Dave assuming a Teaching/Preaching Pastor role. Cory would become the Associate Pastor. But the details would still need to be worked out.
However, we can assure you that maintaining ALL of Living Hope’s staff is a priority for us, and we have expressed that to NWCC as a deal-breaker. Which means, we will find a comparable role for Duane, Cory, and Johnny (and Debbie should she desire to return) ro we will not pursue the merger.
Will we have enough room for both churches?
At this time, we anticipate that we will have enough room for both churches to worship and grow together. Northwest has already identified office space for Pastor Dave, and they do have some breathing room in their sanctuary. As that room becomes more crowded (a problem I think we all want), we will look at moving to multiple Sunday services, as well as other ways to accommodate people.
Is merging a way for Pastor Dan to leave Northwest?
No, Pastor Dan is not leaving Northwest. He is taking a two-month sabbatical beginning in June. However, he believes he is still called to pastor Northwest.
Is merging a way for Pastor Dave to leave Living Hope?
No, Pastor Dave is not leaving. In fact, a possible merger could take some pressure off of his busy schedule. Since returning to work full-time, it has been difficult for him to keep up with everything. Sharing the load with Cory and Pastor Dan will be a great benefit.
I am really nervous and scared. It just seems like a lot of change.
Change is hard, and often scary. However, it can’t be avoided; it happens whether we like it or not. The most important thing to that we allow God to lead that change, and not to run off in our own direction. So, while a possible merger with Northwest would bring change, it also brings the possibility of new opportunities to minister to each other, and to those in Northwest Tucson who need to know the Good News of Jesus. As long as we remember who we are and what God has called us to do, a merger with Northwest will be a good thing. Besides, Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the very end of time.” (Matthew 28: 20) And we can live with that!
We have done things with Northwest for several years; why not just merge now?
There are two main reasons why: 1. We have a lot of details to work out. This includes budget and staffing. 2.We want make sure we hear from God and from all of you. We want to make sure this isn’t about us or our agenda. We want to discern what God may be telling both churches. Part of this process is hearing from you. We want to give people a chance to talk and for the leadership to listen. We also want to give people time to process what is happening. All of this takes time and rushing this process could lead to mistakes, or even worse – harm to both churches.
We believe that the 5 months we will be worshiping together this summer will give us all a chance to see what a merged organization would look and feel like, without permanently breaking either church. If we all commit to this process, I think we will all see what God is calling us to do.
I still have questions, who can I talk to?
You can contact Pastor Dave, or any of our elders.
How will you communicate what’s going?
We want to keep everyone in the loop as much as possible. So we will update the congregation often, in fact, maybe even several times a week. We will communicate on Sunday mornings during the announcements, as well as possible church-wide emails. Please make sure to check your email often over the next few months. If you do not receive these emails already, let me know.