That the three congregations in the Bronx be merged into one mega church.
Merging congregations into one Church produces a vibrant and healthy church. Healthy and vibrant churches reproduce and multiply. Merging churches demonstrate the power of the gospel to transform lives and to break down the walls that divide us. Merger is necessary for Mission. Our mission from Jesus is to take the gospel to both the neighborhoods and the nations, to both Jerusalem and the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). Also, per the mission of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana we are to “attain self-sufficiency through effective resource mobilization” and also “improve Church growth through evangelism and nurture.” Part of our vision is to be a “… Self-sustaining and growing Church.”
Can any of our congregations in the Bronx in its current state fulfil this mandate alone? As much as I don’t doubt the power of God with regards to working with a little, I think currently, it will be very difficult for any of our congregations in the Bronx to effectively achieve that on its own. Our congregations in its current situation are struggling with various challenges. Some are financially broke and are struggling to even pay their monthly bills. Others are having leadership challenges. There are some leaders who started with enthusiasm and passion but have got burned-out as result of the challenges of leadership. For some congregations too, they are struggling with in-fighting, power struggles and politics of church. Consequently, these congregations are not progressing as it’s supposed to be and so there is a need to do something to salvage it, hence the need to merge these congregations named above. I strongly believe that, if we merge and organize these churches properly, we can contribute meaningfully to our world mission as directed by our master Jesus and PCG mission and vision.
Biblical Basis for Mergers
In biblical terms, I believe mergers are example of God doing a “new thing” (Isa. 43:19), helping existing congregations to reach new levels of unity, maturity, and the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). I believe this is congruent with God’s desire for “divine makeovers” as expressed through the prophet Isaiah, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isa. 58:12). The Apostle Paul taught there is “one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:4–5). Paul views each city’s church as one body, such as “. . . to the church of God in Corinth” (I Cor. 1:2) and “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:1). The Psalmist declared “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). The entire drama of the New Testament is the story of God bringing diverse groups together toward that divine reality. According to Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings”
Why should we consider a merger?
- To be better together than each church is individually
- To begin a new church life cycle
- To reach more people for Christ
- To make a greater difference for Christ
- To multiply our church’s impact
- To better serve our local community (the Bronx)
- To leverage the legacy and good reputation of our church
- To maximize church facilities
- To be a stronger local church
- To further extend God’s kingdom
This merger will offer a five-way win:
- Struggling churches win as they get a fresh start in living out God’s purpose for their church.
- Strong churches win as they gain momentum when struggling churches join them.
- The Body of Christ wins because the corporate witness of the local church is stronger and better able to make disciples.
- Local communities win when they are served better by strong vibrant congregations.
- The Kingdom of God wins through advancement and growth of vital, life-giving congregations.
It is true that some mergers have been unsuccessful but most of them are due to a lack of prayers, planning and communication. With this hindsight information, we are at an advantageous position. So, with a great deal of prayer, effective communication, proper planning and preparation, we will be successful. When we merge, we will have better resources as in human capacity and finances to better fulfill our mandate. Together, our mission can be healthier, stronger, longer, and more sustainable.