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July 14, 2021

Navigating a Church Merger

By New Churches Team

The Background

In 2010, Nathan Kollar, his wife, and a team of 10 young adults moved across the country together to plant a church in Los Angeles. They built from the ground up and over the course of eight years they helped plant several other churches. Then, unexpectedly, in 2017, Nathan began feeling called to plant a church in Nashville, Tennessee. Within three months he had transitioned out of his Los Angeles church and moved his family to Nashville. With no existing relationships, he again faced the task of building a church from the ground up.

The Proposal

Six months after the Kollars arrived in Nashville, Nathan was approached about meeting another pastor about the possibility of a merger. This pastor was in his 70s and his congregation of about 50 was mostly seniors. The church had a building, a large parcel of land, and some debt. It also had a lot of potential.

Though hesitant about the existing church being in a location that they had not originally considered, Kollar was honored that they would approach him about the opportunity. And says that it was the relationships he built with other pastors through an honoring posture that led him to that meeting. He also explains that they were excited about the prospect of having mature Christians to learn from in the church. The church plant in Los Angeles had been mostly young people or young Christians. This church’s congregation included six former pastors, several former missionaries, and couples with long marriages. The opportunity to build relationships between new Christians and mature Christians was great.

The Process

When the process started Nathan and his family would attend the existing church on Sunday mornings. Sometimes he would preach and his wife would help with worship. But neither the existing church congregation, nor Nathan’s church plant launch team knew about the discussion to merge.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.

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