This concise and frank discussion of church mergers comprising just a few pages in Gary McIntosh's book There's Hope for Your Church, warrants careful consideration by congregational leaders of all faith traditions considering the possibility of merging with another congregation. McIntosh asks: Why do congregations merge? Why do eight out of nine of them fail? What happens to make mergers work best? What are the keys to a successful merger? This is followed by a list of 30 serious questions congregations who are considering merger must honestly engage. Here are just a few: What is the age of each congregation? What crises have occurred over the years? How far do people drive to each building? What are the ages of the neighborhoods surrounding the buildings? What are the clergy staff strengths and weaknesses of BOTH congregations? If the congregations merge, how can the “us” vs. ”them” issues be avoided? What are each congregation’s attitudes toward growth and fruitfulness? The final section deals with a deeply important and often unaddressed question: what do the congregational cultures of each faith community have in common?
Reviewed by Brian Witwer