Through the efforts of the Middle Tennessee Initiative and our commitment to contribute to having healthy congregations throughout Middle Tennessee, we’ve been in a working relationship with Harpeth Heights Baptist Church for more than a year.
Their church, after experiencing some years of decline, set aside a team of people to study and bring back to the congregation recommendations about how to move forward as a church. That team reached out to Brentwood Baptist in late 2016 and wanted to explore what being a part of the MTI could mean, and maybe even “merging” into Brentwood Baptist Church.
In the spring of 2017, we committed to help as part of an established pathway we have within the MTI strategy—our “renewal” strategy. We would coach, consult, and encourage Harpeth Heights. This process occurred, but during this time, their church’s leadership felt like a more substantial step of merging was best for them.
So through the summer and fall, their congregation and our church leadership explored this opportunity. Was this best for Harpeth Heights? Was it best for Brentwood Baptist? Are we better together in this scenario? As this idea began to be prayed over and questions began to be answered, the idea was pushed further.
Using methods of understanding and discernment used in previous mergers (West Franklin, Woodbine, and Lockeland Springs), we engaged in both practical and spiritual due diligence.
Late in 2017, Harpeth Heights and our church leadership agreed to a next phase: a formal pursuit of a merger whereas Harpeth Heights Baptist Church would merge into Brentwood Baptist and become, “The Church at Harpeth Heights, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church.”
This period of intention or “engaging” is not the final decision. In fact, both churches would have to hold formal church votes to approve this decision. But this period allows us to work to see what God might do with Harpeth Heights joining the Brentwood Baptist family of churches as a regional campus.
This period of time has no set conclusion. It could last a few months or it could be many months. As a part of this period, we’re hopeful it will involve Brentwood Baptist members currently serving at any of our campuses being called to Harpeth Heights. Whether locally or nationally, we want to be a “sending church.”
Those who feel called to engage in the Harpeth Heights adventure will commit to participating and serving in that body of believers. While they’ll retain their membership at Brentwood Baptist, they’ll be attending and investing at Harpeth Heights with plans for it to ultimately become a campus of Brentwood Baptist.
In addition to worshiping there, we’re hopeful these members will be a part of the “Merger Launch Team.” As a team of people made up of both congregations, this group covenants together to spend weeks in fellowship, training, and prayer. They are servant leaders in the merger transition and commit to being supportive as leaders after the merger begins for The Church at Harpeth Heights, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist.
As a group, they’ll collectively study the theology of the church, pray together, and practice disciple-making efforts. They will get to know the DNA of Brentwood Baptist and understand what has been the unique God-calling for Harpeth Heights. This team will cooperate with the Holy Spirit to be shapers of the future campus.