We’re very retrospective this week as one year ago we were walking through the potential of absorbing Maple Grove Church into our organization as a second campus. We were just days away from their board voting to merge. There were so many emotions and questions running through our minds at that juncture about how and if it would work. Today, I thought I would take some time to tell you what we’ve learned about this adventure.
1. It takes six months to assimilate. For the first six months it really felt like there were two churches meeting in the same building. Although we were all trying to go the same direction, it just takes time to develop relationships and work within the systems of a new church structure. Now it’s hard to see the line between the two groups. It is now a healthy mixture of Maple Grove, North Creek, and brand new people who have joined us this year to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus.
2. You love your children equally. Someone about 4 months in said to me, “Which church do you like the best?” I chuckled a bit as I pictured all the people I love on both campuses. It’s very similar to having multiple children. Which one do you like the best? Although the answer may feel like “whichever one is behaving best at the moment”, the real answer is “I love all of my children the same.” It really wasn’t hard to love more people. There are AMAZING people that became part of our family in the merge. We get new guests all of the time. It really wasn’t anything different than our normal routine of expanding our church lines and getting to know more friends.
3. Our staff team had several moments of extreme panic. Oh dear. It was both hilarious and shocking for us to watch our very tight-knit team walk through the reprocusions of being separated in location and stretched in their abilities. However, true to their nature, they rose to the occasion and we would clearly say that each one is a better leader than they were a year ago. We were pushed and we did not give in.
4. We’re pastoring a Deaf Church?!?!? We don’t know sign language, so when we first heard that Maple Grove included a Deaf Church, we felt a bit ill-equipped. Long story short, partnering with our deaf church and their pastor, Jim Smith, has been a JOY! Such a wonderful group of people that have been a blessing to our church as a whole. We wouldn’t have seen it coming, but we’re glad it did.
5. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Merging is a unique ministry. I believe it worked because we know who we are as a church and we stick to the plan that God has given us. It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth it. Together we are stronger than we were separately!
We have a great future ahead of us and we look forward to watching God unveil His amazing plan!