A Beautiful Partnership—A Multicultural Church Merger

When members of First Baptist Church in La Vergne, Tennessee, reached out for help from the leadership of New Vision Church in nearby Murfreesboro, they were having conversations about selling their property.

“They were to the point that they couldn’t pay for trash pickup,” says New Vision Executive Pastor Greg Freeman. “But in their hearts, they thought God wasn’t done in that location.” 

“[We wanted to] evaluate what God was doing and let that be the engine that drives,” says New Vision Senior Pastor Brady Cooper. 

As the leadership of New Vision began learning about First Baptist’s congregation, a solution soon became apparent. According to Cooper, First Baptist’s declining congregation was mostly older and white, but the church also had a healthy Hispanic congregation that used their facilities on Sunday afternoons. After meeting with Nathan Velasquez, that church’s pastor, and seeing their thriving congregation, Cooper and his team encouraged First Baptist to move the Hispanic church, Las Americas, into a better Sunday time slot. They would move to two services, one in Spanish and one in English, and their preschool and children’s ministry would join together.

Las Americas couldn’t afford to buy the facility and First Baptist couldn’t afford to keep it, but it didn’t take long to see a merger was in order. First Baptist voted unanimously to change their name to La Vergne Community Church and elected Velasquez as their senior pastor. The two churches became one, and New Vision assisted with finances and offered training and resources. In addition, New Vision put out a call for people to move from New Vision to La Vergne Community as missionaries, and 40 people volunteered to worship, serve and give to the new work.

“My wife was one of them, which was a shock,” Cooper says.

“I never thought that we were going to be serving another kind of people,” says Velasquez. “I was just focused on serving [Hispanic] people, [but] we started serving Anglos and African Americans. Right now, we have 16 different countries represented. It has been a really, really beautiful experience.”

H.L. Hussmann
H.L. Hussmannhttp://hlhussmann.blogspot.com/

H.L. Hussmann has traveled the world leading mission trips and training Christians in outreach and apologetics. He is the author of "God's Greatest Passion: Every Christian, Everywhere, Sharing Jesus" and "Letters From a Martyred Christian." He is currently planting Daylight Church in Louisville, Ky.