My Merge

Hello Everybody! I want to begin by thanking all of you who have taken time over the past four years (has it really been that long already?) to lift up The Refinery and myself in your prayers. Your phone calls, emails, and occasional drop by's have been a source of strength for not only my self but also our entire Refinery family. As The Refinery enters our fourth season as a worshiping body, we find ourselves at the greatest time of transition since our birth way back in 2003. I will tell you what we are doing then I’ll fill you in on the who, why’s, how’s, what, and when. We (The Refinery) will soon be merging with another local church here in Kernersville to form a new church body.

The church we’ll be merging with is Main St. Baptist. Main St. is an established church that was founded in 1951. The church has been growing during a season of revitalization over the past 10 years under the leadership of Pastor Mike Willard

When I first came to Kernersville four years ago, Mike Willard was one of the first community pastors to welcome me and take me under his wing. Over the past four years Mike and I have grown as colleagues and friends. He has served as a mentor to me and has helped place The Refinery in situations where we would experience optimal community involvement and publicity. During our time in Kernersville, Main St. and The Refinery have increased the number of events we would share together from our band being asked to lead worship at Main St., to my filling in for Mike on occasion, to Main St. allowing our church to hold baptism services in their sanctuary. Anytime there has been a need at one of our two churches, the other has been there to help.

Mike and I sat down at the first of the year just to chat and to talk about what our churches would be doing in 2007. As the meeting went on, the idea was tossed out that maybe there was a bigger plan for both of our churches then just the occasional ministry involvement. What if God has bigger plans for our two individual churches then what we are currently involved in? What would happen if two healthy churches chose to combine ministries? How many more people could be reached? How many more ministries could be started or progressed? Needless to say the idea floored Mike and I and we decided to spend the next several weeks praying about and discussing the possibilities. Over that time it became clear what God had in mind. The Refinery strengths were Main St.’s weaknesses and Main St’s Strengths were The Refinery’s weaknesses. Like the final two pieces of a puzzle, our two churches just seemed to fit.

After spend a couple of months seeking God’s will and timing, we felt it was time to tell the leadership teams of both churches. Our goal in that was to see if any red flags were there that we both were missing. The leadership teams met with Mike and myself for several weeks as we discussed the pros and cons of a possible merge. In the end both teams could find no substantial reason why we should move forward. Both congregations were told of the possible merge and their opinions were listened to. Last week both churches voted overwhelmingly to move forward with the merge.

This will be a merge in the truest since of the word. Mike and I will serve the church as a pastoral ministry team. My role will include but not limited to youth, college & young adults, The Refinery service, and missions. Mike will take care of overseeing the rest. We will form a transition team made up of leaders from both churches and incorporate leaders from each into new overseeing committees. Our typical Sunday morning will look like this: 9:00am traditional service led by Mike W., 10:00am Small group time, 11:00am will feature a blended service led by Mike W. and a Refinery service led by me. Everything that The Refinery currently does will be exactly the same just in a new facility. We are essentially transplanting our church into Main St.’s.

July 29th will be our last Sunday in our current facility. On Aug. 12th, we will launch our band new church.

At the risk of sounding over dramatic, the journey that we are about to embark on is truly ground breaking. I contacted numerous church-consulting firms all around the country and no one had ever heard of two healthy churches from different denominations coming together to help advance the kingdom of God. In fact a national church trend magazine, “Outreach”, has told us that they would love to do a story on our merge because this is so out of the box. Churches split every day and we just feel it’s time to start putting the body back together.

Please keep both churches in your prayers as we navigate through this transition. Pray for wisdom for Mike W., myself, and everyone involved in the merge.


Mike said…
Like I said brother, I'm excited for you guys and you're story gives me hope that something good is happening in the Church!

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