New Life Church published a note.
newLife MERGER FAQ
This document serves to answer questions about the merger between newLife church in Ahwatukee and Generation Church in Mesa.
Q: What is a “merger?”
A: A church merger is when two churches unify and become one church just like when two people marry and become “one flesh.” In this case, we will be one church in two locations (in Ahwatukee and Mesa).
Q: How did this all come about?
A: Our pastors at newLife Church have always had a close relationship with the pas- tors of Generation Church. We’ve brainstormed, dreamed, and strategized together. Over time our churches naturally grew closer and we developed more and more simi- larities in our ministry models. We started doing events together and our staff mem- bers started working together more and more. The conversation about merging our churches began some time ago. After much conversation, prayer, and wise-counsel, our pastors and church council members unanimously feel this is God’s will for our church.
Q: Who is “Generation Church?”
A: The heritage of Generation Church goes all the way back to 1948. In 1999, Randy Visconti became the lead pastor, and the church had healthy growth under his leader- ship. His son, Ryan, married newLife’s own Amy Lavino (now Amy Visconti) in 2012, and they became the lead pastors of Generation Church in 2014. Generation has grown rapidly since then, tripling in size with over 1,200 people worshipping each Sunday. Over 600 people have made the decision to follow Jesus in that time. In 2016, Generation Church was recognized nationally as one of the fastest growing churches in the United States by Outreach Magazine and Lifeway Research.
Q: Why are we doing this?
A: Simply stated, we believe we can do more together than we could do individually; we will be better together than we would be alone; we can reach more people for Je- sus together than we ever could independently. Our pastors and church council sense that God is leading us in this direction. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Eccl 4:9).
Q: What are the benefits?
A: Simply put, we’ll be better together than we’d ever be apart. Both of our churches have had the desire to plant other campuses to fulfill our mission of seeing more peo- ple know Jesus. This allows us to advance that vision immediately and begin a move- ment of kingdom growth. Together we plan to start other campuses around the Phoenix area, and reach even more people.
Our staff members and leaders work together so well, and we’ll all benefit from the synergy of their combined effort. We can bring together the best of both congrega- tions! Merging will provide more ministry opportunities for all our people across the valley at each campus, and more people will have opportunities to serve and make an impact. “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thou- sand...” (Lev 26:8).
Q: What are the similarities between newLife and Generation?
A: We both have the same mission: Everything we do is “so that people far from God can experience new life in Jesus!” We both have the same values: We want people to EXPERIENCE the power and presence of God. We want to have a culture of HONOR for God, our leaders, and our fellow man. We want to be people of GENEROSITY, giving graciously of our time and treasure. We will always pursue GROWTH. We both want to bring as many people to heaven with us as possible!
Most of the core ministries are already the same. We already use the same verbiage for ministry starting with a “101” class. We both value Life Groups. Both congrega- tions place a big emphasis on kids and student ministry. We send our kids and youth to the same camp each summer. We have shared women’s and men’s ministry events. We have the same doctrinal beliefs and affiliations. We already do many of the same preaching series. We already have the same worship style. Our leadership teams have determined that we are “united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Phil 2:2).
Q: How will the campuses work together?
A: Each campus will have a pastor that oversees a team of staff and volunteer leaders on that particular campus. Both campuses will share one budget, one vision, and one ministry model. We will share one church board and be led by one senior leadership team. Our campus pastors will work together to develop ministry strategies as one. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Ps 133:1).
Q: What is going to stay the same?
A: So much of what we do will be the same because our churches are so alike. Pastor Paul will still be preaching each weekend. We’re staying in the same buildings, with the same leaders, with the same loving and welcoming spirit. We’ll have the same passionate weekend services with an emphasis on God’s Word and Spirit-filled wor- ship, developing relationship through Life Groups. We’ll keep supporting all our exist- ing missionaries as giving allows. We’ll continue with our food pantry and marriage ministry at both campuses. Our kids and students will attend the same summer camps.
Q: What is going to change at newLife?
A: You’ll notice some changes immediately. Our service schedule will change. We’ll add service styles to give people more options: first adding a “Chapel” service in the youth building at 8:30am with a softer worship style and preaching from Pastor Paul. In the main auditorium, services will start at 9:30am with our existing worship team and preaching from Pastor Paul. The second service will start at 11:00am with our same worship team and preaching from Pastor Ryan both in-person and via video stream. Both pastors will preach on the same topic, but the sermons will be unique to the preacher each week. People are encouraged to attend in whatever service feels most comfortable.
Expect to see new faces. People who currently attend Generation Church but live closer to Ahwatukee will be encouraged to attend here, and we expect to see a surge of growth!
Some of our ministry names and titles will change to maintain clear communication across both campuses, but the heart of the ministries will remain the same.
Q: What will be the name of our church?
A: Our two campuses will be known as “Generation Church – Ahwatukee Campus” and “Generation Church – Mesa Campus.”
Q: What will happen to the existing leadership teams (e.g. church council, staff, etc.)?
A: newLife’s pastors and staff will remain in their current roles. Staff from both cam- puses will be present at different ministry events and work together, bringing a greater leadership presence. The newLife church council will be replaced by a central church board consisting of the Lead Pastor and lay leaders from the congregation, in- cluding representation from Ahwatukee.
Q: Who will be our Lead Pastor?
A: Ryan Visconti, who serves as the Lead Pastor of Generation Church, will serve in that role for the whole church. He will continue as the primary visionary, communica- tor, and leader. Pastor Paul will continue to minister and preach at the Ahwatukee campus, and he will serve with Pastor Ryan on the executive team. Together they bring a great balance of leadership gifts, abilities, and wisdom. Their complimentary strengths will contribute to a healthy and growing church.
Q: What will happen to my membership?
A: All existing newLife members will automatically retain their membership according to the bylaws of Generation Church. Anyone can attend, but embracing Scriptural membership is encouraged. Generation Church has the same requirements for mem- bership as newLife Church:
1) Believe in Christ
2) Be baptized in water
3) Attend G101
4) Be active in a Life Group or community
5) Serve on a ministry team
6) Faithfully tithe 10% of one’s income to God 7) Be committed to a godly and fruitful lifestyle
Q: Does the “one church in multiple locations” or “multisite” approach actually work?
A: Since the mid-1990’s, more than three thousand churches have adopted this con- cept. Studies show that 90 percent of all multisite ventures are successful. God is blessing this movement within US churches as a way to reach more people with fewer resources required. Although the circumstances vary, several local Phoenix area churches have successfully adopted the multisite concept: Phoenix First Assembly of God merged with Scottsdale First Assembly of God (Now 3 campuses). East Valley Bible Church and Praxis became Redemption Church (now 10 campuses). Word of Grace and Citi Church became City of Grace (Now Hillsong Phoenix with 3 campuses). Central Christian Church has added several campuses and merged with Crosspoint Church in Glendale. Sun Valley Community Church merged with Bethany Bible Church (now 5 campuses).
We have consulted with a well-known expert on multisite churches, Jim Tomberlin, a resident of Phoenix, to guide us through this process. He has stated that the proposed merger between newLife and Generation is the “ideal scenario” for success because of the commonality of mission and high level of trust.
Q: What is the financial status of both churches?
A: Both churches have mortgages on their buildings and are current on their payments for all debt. Combined, our debt payments will be below 17 percent of our tithes and offering income (far below the limits of 30% recommended in church-lending litera- ture). Both campuses will experience needed facilities and technology improvements as a result of the merger. While financial considerations are important, the true moti- vation for this union is making a greater Kingdom impact. We trust that God will con- tinue to “... supply all [our] needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).
Q: What is the procedure and timeline for this merger?
A: From the announcement on April 23rd to the vote on May 7th, we will host several town halls and discussion meetings at both locations to answer questions and dream about the possibilities of our future. Pastor Ryan and Pastor Paul will be present at these meetings. On May 7th, Pastor Ryan will preach at newLife church and after church services the members will vote. If the members approve the recommendation of the pastors and church council to merge with Generation Church, then the merger will be completed. Then, on June 4th, we’ll launch our new beginning as one church in two locations!
Q: What happens to newLife Church if the vote passes?
A: The legal details will be worked out by our lawyers, but newLife and Generation Church will combine our property, assets, debt, and bank accounts together. We will operate as one body joined together under the Generation Church bylaws and 501(c) (3). The process will make us one church, operating with one vision in multiple loca- tions.
Q: What should I do now?
A: First and foremost, seek God’s will for newLife Church. Change can be challenging, so we ask you to do the following:
Celebrate the wonderful opportunity God has presented to our congregation!
Pray for the leadership and staff as they work out the details of a possible
merger and ask God for favor.
Explore the possibilities with Generation Church by checking out their website,
iTunes podcast, or attending a service there on the weekend and the town halls.
Town Hall Meetings at New Life
• Sunday, April 30th at 12:15 pm • Tuesday, May 2nd at 7 pm