Fortress Press

Better Together, Expanded and Updated: Making Church Mergers Work

Better Together, Expanded and Updated

Making Church Mergers Work

Jim Tomberlin (Author), Warren Bird (Author), Craig Groeschel (Foreword by)


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Thousands of Protestant churches are perplexed by plateaued or declining attendance, while other congregations nearby thrive. Is there a way for them to combine forces, drawing on both their strengths, in ways that also increase their missional impact?

In Better Together, Expanded and Updated: Making Church Mergers Work, church merger consultant Jim Tomberlin and award-winning writer Warren Bird make the case that mergers today work best not with two struggling churches but with a vital, momentum-filled lead church partnering with a joining church. This much-needed resource describes the range of mergers for strong, stable, stuck, and struggling churches. No matter what type of merger a church may be considering, the authors address key questions about the process: How can a merger help a church go forward? How will a merger process unfold? Where can a declining church find another congregation to join? What are the pitfalls that both pastor and congregation should avoid? How can "better together" lead to more, rather than fewer, life-giving, high-impact, reproducing churches? They provide a complete, practical, hands-on guide for church leaders of both struggling and vibrant churches, so they can understand the issues, develop strategies, and execute mergers for church expansion and renewal--ultimately, so they can reinvigorate declining churches and give them a "second life."

No matter what your motivation for merging your church with another--to begin a new church life cycle, cross racial lines, reach more people for Christ, multiply your church's impact, or better serve your local community--Better Together will give you the tools you need to create a thriving new entity.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506463353
  • eBook ISBN 9781506463360
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date August 4, 2020


"Better Together has become the go-to book on how to do mergers well--the kind of mergers that are about multiplication more than subtraction, and expansion more than elimination. Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird provide invaluable help through research, great examples, practical guidance, and helpful language."
—Ed Stetzer, author, executive director, Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, and blogger
"In this must-read book, Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work, Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird, two of Christianity's most respected voices, ...walk readers through the steps to a successful church merger... Most important, the authors present congregational merger as a matter of remaining faithful to Christ's mission rather than merely ensuring institutional survival, giving us a very helpful book."
—Will Willimon, author, United Methodist Bishop, retired, Professor of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School
"Kingdom growth is not just about getting bigger. It's also about being better aligned with God's vision for a healed world. Better Together is the road map every leader needs to help them in pursuing both. Tomberlin and Bird provide the research, tools and stories needed for a faithful way forward. As a lead church having consolidated with a joining church, there were unexpected curves and some steep hills along the way. There is also joy in the journey. My advice: pray without ceasing and read this book. You'll be blessed with a clear sense of direction for taking your best next step."
—Mary E Pechauer, CoLead Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities, MN
"Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird are on to something very important. As they point out, you don't have to use the word merger. Regardless of what you call it, the concept is similar to church planting and has tremendous potential to expand the impact of vibrant churches as well as revitalize declining churches."
—Nicky Gumbel, senior vicar, Holy Trinity Church Brompton, London; founder, Alpha Course
"Better Together has become the go-to resource for smooth transitions and healthy growth when churches merge. Now Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird have updated and expanded it to include church planting, multiplication as well as multisite congregations. This invaluable field guide has become even more relevant, helpful, and practical."
—Chris Hodges, Senior Pastor, Church of the Highlands, author of The Daniel Dilemma and What's Next?
"Better Together, an important book, is vital for this moment in time! Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird have extensively updated and expanded their previous brilliant work with brand new research, current models and clear action steps for how church mergers work. This is a crucial guide for the new reality in which we live and as church leaders we should be profoundly grateful we have it to direct us."
—Dave Ferguson, Visionary Leader of NewThing Network; Co-Founder of Exponential Church Multiplication Network; Author of Hero Maker: 5 Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders