MORRISTOWN, N.J., Sept. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Liquid Church, one of New Jersey's fastest growing Christian churches, will celebrate the grand opening of its sixth campus, a "rebirth" of the former St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Garwood, New Jersey. On October 9th, Sunday services will once again be held at the church on 213 Center Street, and hundreds are expected to attend.
The merger will be Liquid's second – the growing church successfully "rebirthed" the struggling Mountainside Gospel Chapel in 2013. A win-win for both congregations, the remaining 29 congregants at the dying Mountainside, NJ church voted to donate the church buildings and property valued at $4 million to Liquid, with a vision of seeing it used to reach young Christians. Today, 900 people walk through the doors each Sunday to attend one of Liquid's Mountainside services, even surpassing Mountainside Gospel Chapel's heyday in the 1970s when the congregation boasted 400 regular attenders.
"We lovingly call our first church merger our miracle at Mountainside, and the news about the incredible growth that took place is what prompted the leaders at St. Paul's to reach out to us about a merger," said Tim Lucas, lead pastor and founder of Liquid Church. "The number of regular attenders had dwindled from more than 350 at its height to 15, and finances had become a real challenge, but those dedicated congregants didn't want to close the doors to their church."
In 2015, the congregants at St. Paul's voted to donate the church buildings and property valued at $1 million to Liquid, which has since renovated the space from top to bottom in preparation for its grand opening.
"No church wants its ministry to end, but too often they run out of options. In recent years, many churches who feared they were reaching the end of their life cycle have discovered new hope through a pathway to rebirth," said Warren Bird, director of research and intellectual capital at Leadership Network and author of Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work.
Research from Leadership Network reveals that 80-percent of America's 320,000 Protestant churches are in decline today, spurring a rise in church mergers. In fact, one in three new campuses or locations launched by a multisite church is the result of a church merger. There are thousands of dying churches with facilities that need a vibrant ministry, and many are actively seeking out vibrant churches looking for space to grow.
"Mergers are not new, but never has there been an era when so many mergers are successful in producing positive growth and spiritual fruit for long-established congregations," added Bird.
"We may be a young, contemporary church, but we realize there are deep, spiritual roots here. Our new location in Garwood is an incredible gift, and we will humbly work to continue a mission that's been going on for more than 100 years," added Lucas.
Liquid will host two Sunday services at its new Union County Garwood campus at 9:30am and 11:30am, and all are welcome to attend. Each service time includes amazing kids programming for those from birth – 8th grade. Additional details may be found at www.LiquidChurch.com/Garwood.
ABOUT LIQUID CHURCH:
Liquid Church is one of New Jersey's fastest-growing Christian churches. Officially launched in 2007 by Lead Pastor Tim Lucas, the church's vision and mission is to "Saturate the State with the Gospel of Jesus Christ," with six campuses in Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union Counties. Each week, more than 3,500 people experience Liquid Church's worship services in New Jersey and around the globe through Church Online. As part of its global outreach, Liquid provides clean drinking water to the poorest of the poor, with dozens of completed wells in several countries including El Salvador and Nicaragua - and most recently, Rwanda! Liquid Church's innovative approaches to outreach and ministry have been spotlighted by CNN and The New York Times. www.LiquidChurch.com.
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