Adoption-Merger between LLUMC & WHUMC

Learn more about this great relationship in the works!

Adoption-Merger conversations started late in 2019 between Lovers Lane and Walnut Hill leadership. It has been a long process between both churches to get to this point in the possibility of a real future of being "Better Together". On this page, you will find the latest information, news, and updates on the process leading up to a vote by both churches of becoming "one church" in two places.

If you have inquiries or questions please submit them to adoption@llumc.org

Watch the presentation Rev. Stan Copeland delivered via live-stream to Walnut Hill on April 20, 2020 addressing "A case of being better together"

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Summary of Integration meetings

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Questions and Discoveries:

Here is the story behind the adoption-merger possibility and the things that Lovers Lane Church Board, Task-force, and leadership has discovered through this process.

The adoption-merger would not be advantageous to WHUMC or LLUMC if we could not move forward with ministry and outreach centered on a clarifying and unifying Mission, Vision, Values and Dream.

Mission
Loving ALL people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

Vision
One diverse community that passionately engages the Bible, uplifts Jesus in worship and loving service, and challenges in love that which divides.

Values
Worship, Learn, Engage, Serve, and Share

Dream
By God’s grace, following the Resurrected Lord and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we dream that with humility, courage, and authenticity, we will worship God in multiple dynamic venues across the Metroplex, baptize as an experience of God’s unconditional love, engage the Bible in hundreds of classes and groups, become a sacred harmony of thousands of God’s children, serve tens of thousands with passion, and love all people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

LLUMC is more of a “regional church” in that our members and visitors come from all over the Metroplex. WHUMC is a congregation largely focused on the neighborhood in the 75229 zip code and the surrounding northwest Dallas area. LLUMC has more members in the 75229 zip code than any other zip code in the greater region and virtually all of WHUMC’s membership come from this zip code. We believe we will be better together in mission and outreach to the community by combining our forces. It is believed that LLUMC and its diversity can help WHUMC attract those in the neighborhood and from the Creative School to become a part of the worshipping community and mission at Walnut Hill Church.

An adoption/merger is NOT a “Take over” where one church takes over the assets and buildings of a congregation, then

  1. shuts down operations
  2. changes building alignments sometimes demolishing existing buildings or building new buildings
  3. establishes a completely new name
  4. most of the existing members leave for other congregations
  5. embraces a new purpose and new vision. 

An adoption/merger IS two agreeing congregations intentionally joining together through a lifelong familial agreement represented in a covenant the two make before God and one another.  

 

This is a covenant of adoption/merger whereby: Lovers Lane United Methodist Church (“LLUMC”) adopts, merges, and joins with Walnut Hill United Methodist Church (“WHUMC”) to continue as a ministry in two locations.

 

The central strength of this adoption model is that WHUMC becomes a part of the LLUMC family without losing its unique heritage, existing ministry, community identity, and enhancements and new initiatives will be born together.

This adoption-merger embraces the belief that WHUMC and LLUMC can better accomplish our mission by joining together.

  • WHUMC recognizes that by merging with LLUMC, it can multiply its impact beyond what it could do by remaining solo
  • LLUMC recognizes that greater ministry can happen in North Dallas and the greater Dallas area with WHUMC and LLUMC joining in membership and ministry. 
  • Both congregations bring incredible gifts to this relationship.

LLUMC has been for quite a while a church that operates on some levels as a multi-site church. We have been doing that just on one campus at 9200 Inwood Rd. for all these years. The diversity of worship styles, faith communities, and culture in our venues and congregation has been what continues to grow our church. We believe that WHC can fit nicely into the same systems and structure of all the ministries that make up Lovers Lane UMC.

As we see decline in membership across the whole of the United Methodist Church in the USA, and plans for a “separation” largely brought about by conflict over long standing LGBTQ+ inclusion, a model of adoption-merger could become one to which many congregations and conferences turn.  It allows a more regional church to partner with a neighborhood congregation for the sake of resourcing the adopted congregation.  The resourcing comes through systems, processes, staff, etc.  We believe this will help both congregations continue to be a beacon of light and hope in their communities, neighborhoods, and the larger region.  If this is successful in the North Texas Conference, this will be an example for others in our conference and throughout the denomination.

A relationship with WHUMC will help LLUMC further live into the mission, vision, and dream of LLUMC.  In partnership, we believe that we will reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, be able to serve more people in our community and around the world, and ultimately “Make more Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The campus of WHUMC gives LLUMC a “mission outpost” more intentionally focused in ministry and outreach to immediate neighbors.  Together, the congregations will work with growing diversity, building community, and develop relationships by reaching out to people in the neighborhood as our honored guests.  WHUMC knows the neighborhood.  LLUMC knows the power of diversity.  Together we will make a positive impact on the neighborhood and the kingdom of God.

To grow membership, a congregation must have a large front door. This means you need more first time guests walking through the doors and that happens even before they physically step foot inside the church building.  More than ever before, in this COVID-19 sensitive world, that we now live in, websites, social media, community reputation and brand needs to be stronger to engage that outside of the church. A “first impression hospitality” and “discipleship pathway” must be established. LLUMC brings a proven structure and system that will work well for the Walnut Hill Church as well; thus more people will join the church, become active and engaged members.

The culture of WHUMC and LLUMC will be further assessed and in partnership with the pastoral staff, ministry staff, and church members, we will become a church that is for ALL people. This church will embrace friendship evangelism and programs for those that are not yet connected. We all must acknowledge that we must give up some control, comfortable patterns of ministry, and owned preferences in order to make room for more at the table.

Stewardship is modeled by leadership and biblically preached from the pulpit.  However, the vision must be compelling. People will give to what they believe in. Building a stronger base of givers of families and individuals will be crucial for the health of the finances of Walnut Hill.

Fall stewardship campaigns would be in coordination with the stewardship team at LLUMC, and the resources that come with that of teaching, media, video, and giving.  The LLUMC pledging system, which stresses designated ministry and outreach giving, is quite unique.  This will lend itself extremely well to support of the “Super Impact Ministry” that is WHUMC.  LLUMC’s leadership brings to the table experience in capital projects and campaigns for growth and expansion. WHUMC, as a “Super Impact Ministry” served by a Board of Directors, will be focused on mission, vision, values and the dream through partnerships, education (Creative School) and other ministries that will grow the base of financial resources to care for the facility and improvements to the campus.

Lovers Lane UMC proposes to make Walnut Hill a 501(c)(3) Super Impact Ministry of LLUMC, just as we have with Wesley Prep, Rays of Light, SEEDS, and 12th Step Ministry.  This means that LLUMC would technically be the Corporate owner of the subsidiary, but the operations of WHUMC  would be directed by a Board of Directors that would work to make sure Walnut Hill is growing, funded, and engaged in ministry that is in keeping with LLUMC’s mission and vision.

Walnut Hill Church, A Ministry of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. This name holds on to the identity and legacy of WHUMC and continues to "brand" the campus for the Walnut Hill neighborhood. However, it does show the community and all that something new is happening and exciting at this location.

Each Permanent Committee (Facilities, Finance, Stewardship, SPRC, Trusteeship, Legal/Risk, Conferences) will have at least one representative from WHUMC.  WHUMC representatives will also be included in the Church Council (at least 3).

Current Trustees of WHUMC will not function in the same way. There will be a board of directors of the Walnut Hill Church 501(c)3 that will oversee the operations of the Walnut Hill property and improvement.

Board of Directors at Walnut Hill Church will work to make sure Walnut Hill is growing, funded, and engaged in ministry that is in keeping with LLUMC’s mission and vision. They will also oversee and work with other entities on that campus to better there ministries including the Creative School.

The lay leadership of WHC is crucial for the future and growth of this ministry. There will be every effort made to include existing and new leadership in the overall entity of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.