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July 15, 2015

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? Church merger consultant Jim Tomberlin, with co-writer Warren Bird, makes 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.

In this new book, they provide a complete, practical, hands-on guide for church leaders of both struggling and vibrant churches so that they can understand the issues, develop strategies, and execute a variety of forms of merger for church expansion and renewal to reinvigorate declining churches and give them a “second life.”

Buy the book HERE

Praise for Better Together

“Better Together is certain to become the standard reference for churches that see mergers as a strategic tool for kingdom impact. Tomberlin and Bird give us useful language, a helpful guide to the opportunities and challenges of church mergers, and the tools to navigate a successful merger.”
— Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries, Alpharetta, GA

“Better Together will become the go-to book on how to do mergers well-the kind 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, President, LifeWay Research

“Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird are on the front lines of a church world changing so rapidly most of us have a hard time keeping up. Better Together is the best kind of work: based on real-life facts, marked by thoughtful interpretation, and filled with a vision for the beauty and flourishing of the church. This book could open untold doors for your church and ministry.”
— John Ortberg, Senior Pastor, Menlo Church, Menlo Park, CA

“Many churches across the world are asking the question, “Could we do more for God’s glory united with another church than we are doing alone?” Now, what was unheard of before is becoming a viable and strategic option for many congregations. I’m so thankful that someone finally wrote a book to address the hidden challenges and unexpected opportunities of uniting two ministries into one. And I’m even more thankful that it wasn’t just anyone, but two of the most knowledgeable men I know on this subject. If you are considering joining forces with another church, you’ve picked up the right book.”
— Craig Groeschel. Lead Pastor, Life, Church, Edmond, OK

“As part of the Ginghamsburg team that engineered a merger to create a ‘new,’ thriving, urban congregation, I deeply appreciate the information, inspiration, and practical toolkit in Better Together. It will help your church navigate the pitfalls and potholes that we had to discover the hard way.”
— Karen Smith, Executive Director of Missional Operations, Ginghamsburg Church, Dayton, OH

International Praise for Better Together

 “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

“God is rewiring his church to reach a new generation. Better Together is an invaluable resource to any church considering a merger. It is comprehensive, well researched, practical, and insightful. We pastor at a multi-site church that has successfully grown through a merger and can say, ‘Tomberlin and Bird get it!’ Mergers have great potential. They also come with potential pitfalls. This book will help ensure both churches involved are truly better together.”
—Bruxy Cavey, Teaching Pastor and Tim Day, Senior Pastor, The Meeting House, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

“Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird have provided the church with a visionary and practical book which if many church leaders could embrace with real humility, the kingdom impact could be huge. Whether you lead a thriving church or are involved in one that is struggling, I commend this book to you.”
—Steve Tibbert, Senior Pastor, King’s Church, London, England; author, Good to Grow

“This book is a treasure trove of gems, practical tips on how to navigate the rough seas of merging a church and some small things that can have a major impact. If we had this book 15 years ago when we had undergone such an endeavour, it would not have been so painful for a lot of people, and we would have been able to avoid many of the pitfalls we have found ourselves in. I can recommend this book to any church considering embarking on such a journey.”
—Dr. Johan Geyser, Cultural Architect, Mosaïek Church, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird have always been great at understanding what the next move is in church culture. With Better Together—Making Church Mergers Work they have brought the topic of mergers to a wider audience. Church mergers are not only relevant in the USA, but also in Europe with huge church planting implications. It’s a must-read book for strategic thinking church leaders.”
—ND Strupler, Executive Director, ICF Movement, Zurich, Switzerland

“The book is extremely helpful in understanding that good mergers actually increase the kingdom of God —including the total number of churches — because they become vehicles of change, not preservers of the status quo. Mergers may not be what church leaders had in mind for their churches when they started them, but they may indeed be God’s key to open doors to new opportunities of greater harvest. For those local churches considering a merger, Better Together contains lots of practical wisdom that would lead to peril if not heeded.”
—Dr. Dietrich Schindler, Executive Director, Church Planting, Evangelical Free Church, Germany

“Much like blended families, church mergers are becoming more frequent in our generation. Thanks to Better Together, we now have an excellent guide to assist us in avoiding the land mines and maximizing the potential of this unfamiliar territory.”
—Mark Conner, Senior Minister, CityLife Church, Victoria, Australia

More Praise for Better Together

“This is a must read book for several reasons: It’s the first of its kind on a new, increasing wave of church mergers built on vision rather than survival; It’s based on real-life, first-hand research based on real church mergers by two of Christianity’s most respected voices; It develops a common language that subsequent conversations about church mergers can build upon; and The authors walk the reader through the various steps to a successful church merger.”
— Dr. Bill Easum, President, 21st Century Strategies, Inc.,;  Co-author, Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by Church Starts

“Tomberlin and Bird have knocked the ball out of the park in this book. The research is incredible, the content is insightful and the net results are invaluable. Considering the trends, this book is a must read for church leaders serious about making the most of what God gives them.'”
Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor, 12 Stone Church, Lawrenceville, GA

“The church merger process which has been instinctively used in the past … has failed. And it will continue to fail. If a merger is at all in your thinking, please read this book. There is a right way…and you’ll find it here!”
— W. Charles Arn, President, Church Growth Inc., Monrovia, CA

“This book addresses the most common challenges related to church mergers. Having planted several churches as well as having experienced the complicated task of a church merger, this is a must read. You can choose to travel this road alone, but take my advice, it’s always easier, faster and ‘Better Together.'”
— Jaime Loya, Senior Pastor, Valley International Christian Center, San Benito, TX

“An essential resource for any mission-driven church considering a merger. Practical, field-tested strategies that will help leaders avoid common pitfalls. I highly recommend it!”
— Jonathan Schaeffer, Senior Pastor, Grace Church, Middleburg Heights, OH

“We need this kind of win-win thinking in the church. I’d love it if denominational leaders were thinking this way (I wonder if a challenge needs to go out to them explicitly!) I don’t know of any resource like this in print. Better Together will stimulate a wave of kingdom impact that will make us all say ‘Why didn’t we think of this sooner?'”
— Mark Ashton, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Omaha, NE

“Today’s congregational leaders often wonder whether “going it alone” is their best option. Yet the “m-word” (merger) can elicit tremendous fear, confusion and disappointment— both when the negotiations succeed and when they don’t. This book offers clear and thoughtful guidance about the how and the why (and even the ‘Why not?’) of merger initiatives. Serious study of this material will move leaders miles ahead in their thinking, and will greatly increase the chances that a robust and renewed ministry will result from a merger initiative.”
— Alice Mann, Consultant, The Alban Institute; Author, Can Our Church Live?

“Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird have bent my mind again. Like many, I was mired in the old math of church mergers— and now I see that mergers, done well, offer a powerful way to expand God’s Kingdom. Better Together is ahead of its time. It’s thorough and inspirational without being laborious. Thank you, Jim and Warren, for pushing me in this direction!”
— Dr. Tom Nebel, Director of Church Planting, Converge Worldwide, Orlando, FL

“Better Together is a practical and complete guide to an emerging opportunity to reclaim and maximize kingdom resources. Don’t attempt to even consider a merger with taking advantage of their research.”
— Steve Stroope, Lead Pastor, Lake Pointe Church, Rockwall, TX

“Opportunities for churches working together have never existed like they exist now, but only those who are alert and aware of these strategies will take advantage of this connection. Merging churches together takes help and expertise, and this book is a powerful guide to jumpstart you in such an endeavor.”
— Rick Bezet, Lead Pastor, New Life Church, Little Rock, AR

“In a previous church I served, I initiated a merger. Ours was the joining church and we became part of a stronger church in my community. We did many of the things this book recommends. It was the best thing to do for my church and for the kingdom of God. God really blessed the merger.”
— Rod Layman, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Mesa, AZ

“When I began consulting 24 years ago church mergers were normally based on two dying churches coming together for survival. Not so any more. Tomberlin and Bird show that today’s most successful mergers are mission-driven as two (or more) churches coming together around a compelling vision. “Better Together ” will become a definitive guidebook. Out of a complex and emerging landscape, Tomberlin and Bird have distilled useful principles and provided a new vocabulary of family-related terms to use. We are speaking of our own merger as a ‘marriage’ because we envision ‘having kids together’ through new ministry sites in the future.”
— Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Ritter, Directing Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Geneseo, IL

“Tomberlin and Bird give us a great resource to help churches join together for a greater impact. Having experienced a church merger firsthand, I’m convinced they’re worth the journey. Here’s a guidebook to help you along the path.”
— Tony Morgan, Strategist at; co-author, Killing Cockroaches: And Other Scattered Musings on Leadership

“Tomberlin and Bird rightly describe a growing movement among churches learning to walk, work and worship God together as one; churches rejecting competition for cooperation and working smart not hard. As one who has both led and benefitted from church mergers, I invite you to prayerfully consider this practical guide.”
— Dr. Mark DeYmaz, Pastor, Mosaic Church, Little Rock, Arkansas; Author, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church


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"Jim Tomberlin was a huge asset to us during our recent move to multisite. His experience and expertise helped us navigate our staff and church through a church merger and greatly assisted us in the union of two churches. I highly recommend Jim to anyone prayerfully considering either mergers or multisite churches."

Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church

"Jim came along side Celebration Church from the very beginning of our multi-site journey. His insight, strategy, and understanding of what it takes to be a healthy church was huge to us as we began this new journey. Since partnering with Jim, we’ve gone from one church meeting in a single location, to five campuses meeting throughout Wisconsin."


"Not only did he bring a depth of knowledge, insight and wisdom but he also helped to bring clarity to our strategy which will keep us healthy and growing well into the future. Jim brought to our team a pastor’s heart with a strategist’s mind for how to understand church growth through multisites."


"Jim is one of the country’s leading thinkers on the multi-site movement."

Craig Groeschel – Lead Pastor

"If you’re planning to go multisite and want someone to walk you through implementing your strategy successfully you’ll want to connect with Jim…you won’t be disappointed."

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Dave Ferguson – Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL

"He is a veteran leader, who is able to combine a wealth of knowledge with an intuitive grasp of the needs of the local pastor."

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Scott Chapman – The Chapel, Lake Country, IL

"If your church is thinking about going multisite make sure you have Jim on your team."

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Todd Cook – Sagebush Community Church – Alberquerque, New Mexico
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