Merge churches for mission

Every church has a gift to offer its community and a part to play in God's mission. Sometimes playing its part will mean joining with another church, or group of churches, to share resources as a multi-site church. These pages have been written to help circuits and churches who are in the midst of discerning whether and how a church merger should take place. They have been written with the help of people who have already found renewed energy for mission through merging churches. 

Let’s be honest: these conversations can be very difficult to have, and these issues very hard to face. The reality of church decline saps people’s energy and involves many losses, perhaps including the loss of identity when one church merges with another. And yet, at the heart of the Christian story is the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians worship a God who, in Jesus, gave up everything, even life itself, and then rose to new life once more. Even death is not the end. 

The Methodist Church’s Strategy for Evangelism and Growth includes a desire that every church should grow and every circuit start a New Place for New People. If we courageously choose to have tough, grace-filled conversations about our smaller churches, then we can step into this brave and bold vision and start to see it become a reality. It is tempting and perhaps understandable to focus on addressing the urgent practical issues of declining attendance and costly buildings. This guidance makes the assumption, however, that by focusing first on the mission to which God is calling us, and only then addressing the above realities, we put ourselves in the best position to face an uncertain future with hope.

Ten top tips for merging churches

In these pages:


In what ways is God calling you to your community? This section is all about circuit mission planning. Only once we've discerned our mission do we go on to consider practical issues relating to governance, finance and buildings. This section also contains guidance relating to different models of merger.


Looking after hearts and minds: this section addresses the very real pain and anger associated with merging churches. Change involves loss and loss hurts. Lots of support is available.


Legal and constitutional issues. The Law and Polity Committee have published guidance for churches and circuits, setting out how to bring two or more churches together to form a multi-site Local Church.

Network with others

You will find a link to register for upcoming Zoom gatherings for leaders of smaller churches to meet together to share ideas, stories and tips.