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Better Together - Published in the Summer Issue of The PULSE

In early 2020, just before our whole world changed, two pastors of churches in Colorado Springs, Colorado met to have lunch together. Kevin was the planter of Incline EFC and Brian was the newly hired pastor of Northview EFC. During that lunch meeting a new friendship began. In the year following the pandemic, Brian and Kevin continued to connect for lunch, encouragement, and they enjoyed playing pick-up basketball together. They talked about the impact of the pandemic on their churches and openly wondered if they might complement one another in powerful ways. It sounded like a good possibility, but they simply did not feel a conviction to pursue the idea any further.

As well as pastoring Incline EFC, Kevin also had a role in the Rocky Mountain District as the Church Planting Director. As Barry Vegter, the District Superintendent, began to share a vision for multiplication and pursuing an emerging need for leadership development, Kevin’s role began to expand.

At the end of 2022, Brian and Kevin felt compelled to, along with their elder teams, investigate the possibility of partnering in various ministries and maybe eventually consider a merger. In January of 2023, the District Leadership Team extended an invitation to Kevin to prayerfully consider making his role within the district a fulltime one. A path was beginning to form for exploring if these two congregations could truly advance the kingdom in a new way if they came together.

Incline EFC was informed of the opportunity the DLT was offering Kevin, which would not be voted on until April and invited the church to start praying about next steps. The elder teams of both churches had a day long retreat led by PastorServe which began to ask the question, “Could we be better together?” Through conversations, reading books on church mergers, and seeking outside input, they understood there are many kinds of mergers, and that merging did not guarantee kingdom impact.

As the teams prayed and processed together, it became evident that the congregations were aligned in mission and vision while at the same time complementing each other in areas of giftedness. In light of these discoveries the two elder teams recommended that their congregations begin a process of considering if they also believed “we could be better together.”

During February-April the elders put together several FAQ documents for their respective churches as they worked through key questions, held congregational conversations, allowed ministry leaders to meet one another, facilitated prayer times, and had one joint service. Each step of the way, God began to bring joy, hearts began to be united around a new vision, and slowly a new work of the kingdom was taking shape. The congregations decided to wait to vote on a merger until after Kevin’s role was determined at the annual Spring Conference, but eventually each church voted overwhelmingly to merge. Northview EFC and Incline EFC voted to become Magnify EFC on April 31, 2023. Pastor Brian will lead the church with Pastor Kevin serving as an associate for several months prior to transitioning to serving the District full time.

As this article is written, Incline EFC and Northview EFC are one week away from their first service as Magnify EFC. It is understood that the hardest part of launching this new church will be the first six months together as they seek unity and focus on the mission Jesus prays about in John 17:20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one." This new church has the opportunity to make disciple-makers who multiply. Will you pray for Magnify EFC? The coming together of these churches has allowed many of its people who were serving in multiple areas to be freer to make space to build relationships with those who are yet to know the joy of Jesus. Pray that they would Magnify Jesus in Colorado Springs and beyond!

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