A growing number of churches are discovering that their most effective partnerships, the best way to increase their outreach without increasing their budgets, is through church mergers.

Sometimes this is the las614vzsj6cml-_sx327_bo1204203200_t thing a pastor or a congregation wants to consider. It can feel like it threatens our identity or betrays our church’s history. Yet, I’ve watched congregations experience God in their midst and grown in their outreach like they would have never expected by being open to merging with a local, complementary church or faith community looking for a physical location.

Here are some questions to consider if you find yourself against a wall in your outreach efforts or facing a declining building or congregation:

Could you multiply your impact in the community by merging with another local church?

Do you have a stable facility but a declining congregation?

Does your church serve people who primarily drive from out of town to attend?

Could a merger with a local community establish your church as more of an actor in the community where it exists?

Could you reach more in your community by offering your space to a new church or a church plant in need of space?

On the flip side, are you a vibrant, growing church with a need for a stable meeting space?

Are there churches within the same denomination, in close proximity, which could benefit from coming together to form a more diverse faith community?

I discuss some of the symbiotic church mergers I have witnessed in my book, Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes. Available today on Amazon.com, Cokesbury.com, or at my website, rosariopicardo.com.

What happened in your congregation and in your community when you took the leap and merged?