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Eastside and Eastgate FAQ


Proposed Partnership Between Eastgate Assembly of God & Eastside Community Church


On October 2, 2022, it was announced publicly that the boards of both congregations are recommending we pursue a formal ‘adoption merger’ of Eastgate Assembly of God by Eastside Community Church. We are now at the point where we are inviting both congregations into a period of prayer and discernment, so that we may understand together what the will of the Lord is, and step forward by faith together into whatever is next.


We recognize that the following FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document will not answer every question you may have. So, after reviewing the FAQ, if you have additional questions, please submit them below. Your voice matters to us! Submitted questions will be reviewed, collated, and answered either directly or at ‘Town Hall’ style meetings scheduled for the upcoming weeks (details below).


“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”  

 - Ephesians 3:20-21

  • How Did This Come About?
    In March of 2022, Eastgate Assembly of God began a pastoral search. Pastor TJ in his role as an Executive Presbyter attended a board meeting with Pastor John Musgrave from OMN. During this meeting Pastor TJ offered to assist Eastgate in any way needed. Pastor TJ came and preached one Sunday evening in June to help fill the pulpit. During this time as Eastgate was looking for a pastor they were not finding what they were looking for. Pastor TJ asked John Musgrave if Eastgate would ever consider a merger. It seemed that the 2 congregations would be better together. Each one bringing strengths to the partnership. After Pastor John talked with Eastgate it was determined that they would entertain that idea. Pastor TJ and Betsy had several meetings with the Eastgate Pastoral Search committee and it was determined that Eastgate would like to pursue a merger with Eastside under Pastor TJ's leadership. Conversations between both church board began about what it would be like if we did church together, what some would call a ‘church merger.’ Our boards have spent the last several months in prayer and robust conversation and have come to the conclusion we believe the Lord is leading us to become one unified church. The primary motivation for this partnership is mission-driven - a belief that we will be more effective together for the Kingdom than each of our churches would be apart. As leaders we know that this is Jesus’ church and we want to be dependent on Him in prayer and express our confidence in Him by boldly acting in faith.
  • Who are Eastgate Assembly of God and Eastside Community Church?
    Eastgate Assembly of God is a church with nearly a 40 year history. Eastgate has spent decades creating a place where God's Spirit moves freely. Eastgate has recently gone through pastoral transition and are currently seeking a new Lead Pastor. Eastgate's desire is to reach out and minister to those who are around them. Eastgate's rich history includes many salvations, many set free, many lives change, and many filled with the Holy Spirit. Eastside Community Church just celebrated their 10th anniversary. Eastside is a growing church that currently meets in the Gahanna YMCA. For the last 2 years we have been searching for a place to call home. Eastside is a church that values discipleship. We want people to not only meet Jesus as Savior but learn to follow him as Lord. Eastside has a strong desire to reach out to the community in any way possible. Our mission states that we are a Family of Christ-followers who are being Equipped to Show and Share God's love with others.
  • Why are we considering this merger?
    While we aren't in love with the word merger, we know it is the easiest word to use. We see this more as 2 churches coming together to further advance the kingdom of Heaven and to make more disciples. As our boards began discussing our current situations and future hopes, we discovered an encouraging like-mindedness and a similar mission & vision. This foundation led to more detailed conversation about whether we would be better together than we would apart. On a very practical level, at this stage of its life, Eastgate desires to faithfully steward its ministries & facilities in ways that will continue to advance God’s Kingdom. Eastside is experiencing growth, but does not have its own facilities and buying or building its own facility is untenable at this stage in its life. As conversations progressed, it seemed clear that an intentional partnership could be a win for both churches, and for the community. This would come about not only in practical ways but in many spiritual ways as well.
  • What does partnership/merger mean?
    The central idea of a partnership, also known as a church merger, is that we’re better and more effective together than either of us would be apart. There are several types of mergers among churches these days. The boards of both churches believe the healthiest scenario for us is what is referred to as an ‘adoption’ merger. In an adoption merger, a joining church is ‘adopted’ by a lead church, coming under the vision, mission and leadership of the lead church. In this case, Eastside will be the lead church, and Eastgate will be the joining church. We will partner together to become one church.
  • Are these kind of partnerships common?
    Though the phenomenon of church mergers for shared mission is fairly recent, more than 6,000 churches in the US are merging every year, and another 15,000 congregations say they have discussed merging in the future. We believe this is a trend that will only grow in years to come as churches recognize the benefits of partnering together for the sake of the gospel, and for reaching more people for Christ. Similar partnerships have recently taken place in our Ohio Assemblies of God fellowship.
  • Will our church have a new name, and what will it be?
    Though this partnership will be an ‘adoption’ merger, where joining church Eastgate Assembly of God will be enfolding into the life & ministries of lead church Eastside Community Church, both boards are in agreement that choosing a new name is a strong sign of unity to one another and to our community that we are one church. Discussions between both boards will be taking place to choose a new name for the unified congregation going forward.
  • What will happen to our programs?
    As our boards and leadership teams met it became clear to us that we were in unity that specific programs cannot be the main focus . Our greatest desire is to ensure that we are making disciples that make disciples. As a result, over the next several months we will be meeting with ministry leaders and church members to discuss how we can best do that.
  • What about ministry to kids and students?
    We know that reaching the next generation and helping to make them into strong disciples is a non-negotiable. The kids and student ministries are the lifeblood of any local church. We want to make these ministries the best we can. Volunteers from both churches will be invited to serve in these ministries as we build one new church family together.
  • Who will be the lead pastor?
    Pastor TJ Wolfe will serve as our Lead Pastor. Pastor TJ and his family came to the area 6 years ago. He has been faithfully serving at Eastside's pastor since then. As lead pastor of the new congregation, Pastor TJ will be responsible for leading the vision and mission of the church and serving as the primary preaching pastor. The rest of the preaching time will be filled by various others, including staff pastors, church members, special guest, and itinerant missionaries .
  • What will happen to each churches current leadership?
    Pending the approval of this merger, both the board of Eastgate and the board of Eastside will serve together during the transition. At the next business meeting of the merged church, the nominating committee will present a list of possible board members from the newly merged church and we will vote on those board members. All eligible partners will be considered. As new leadership teams are needed or developed, leaders from within the new congregation will be considered and invited to lead. As the lead church, staff members from Eastside will continue in their current roles. As new staff and leadership are needed the elected board will work with Pastor TJ on filling those roles.
  • What will happen to the church facilities?
    The current Eastgate facilities will be entrusted to the new congregation, and will be updated and repaired over time in order to sustain active ministry for decades to come.
  • What will worship services be like?
    Sunday corporate worship gatherings are the large gathering of each week. They will be participatory and centered on the proclamation of the gospel through the Word of God. Music will be theologically rich, musically diverse, emotionally expressive and congregationally engaging. Songs will be chosen from across all styles and genres. Our goal is to not be set on a certain worship time period but to be focused on music that partners with and enhances that weeks message. Preaching will be from God's Word. There will be a mix expository, often in series through books of the Bible or larger passages, as well as topical messages that tackle the issues Christ followers are facing today.
  • How will membership be transferred?
    Members of Eastgate will become partners with Eastside upon the completion of the merger. Eastside uses the word partner and not member. The reason for this is because we feel that the term partner implies a vested interest. We believe that church membership is a covenant relationship. It is not joining a club but an agreement to ‘partner in the gospel’; to serve, love, and support one another as a local expression of the family of God. Since this merger is a special circumstance, all current members in good standing with Eastgate will become partners of Eastside upon the completion of the merger. The only thing that Pastor TJ has asked is that all of these members would join him at a special partnership luncheon at a date to be set later. At this luncheon he will cover the mission, vision, and history of Eastside. This will help us all be on the same page as we move forward together.
  • Will our denomination affiliation change?
    Absolutely not. Both Eastgate and Eastside are members of the Assemblies of God. We love this fellowship and the rich history both churches have. We will continue to be an Assembly of God church and participate in all that relationship offers us.
  • What will happen to all our supported missionaries?
    Both Eastgate and Eastside have a long history of being very strong mission supporting churches. As our boards discussed, we have decided to continue to support all missionaries and missions organizations from both churches for the entire calendar year of 2023. At the end of the year we will evaluate all our missionaries and missions giving to ensure they are still in line with our missions strategy.
  • How will the budget be managed?
    The budgets of both congregations will be consolidated into one, unified budget. The goal of the consolidated budget will be to best steward the resources provided for the purposes of our mission. Depending on the timing of the merger it may be in the best interest of both congregations to merge finances after the end of the calendar year 2022.
  • What is the procedure and timeline?
    Both boards have sought to move at the pace of both the Holy Spirit and our congregations, and we value the input and voices of our members. So, we will be holding several ‘town hall’ style meetings in the coming weeks where we will pray and the leadership will be on hand to field questions related to this merger/partnership. Additionally, we will be holding at least one joint gathering on Wednesday, October 19 so that everyone has the opportunity to get a taste for what it would be like to be a joint congregation. A schedule and outline of events can be found at the end of this document. On Sunday, October 23 both congregations will hold votes on the merger resolution according to their bylaws. As you can imagine neither church's bylaws state what to do during a merger. While this is true, both boards know that a vote of our members/partners is needed. When Eastgate meets to vote their vote will be to elect Pastor TJ as pastor of Eastgate and to approve a merger with Eastside. When Eastside meets to vote their vote will be to merge with Eastgate. Both boards will share with their voting members what the requirements will be for approval of this vote.
  • How will I have a voice in what happens?
    Members from both congregations are encouraged to share their input, feedback, and wisdom with their board and leadership through the ‘town hall’ meetings that will take place in October. We want to hear from you, and communicate clearly with you about what to expect in the coming months so that there are as few surprises as possible. But there will be surprises, and we will fail each other at times. Our hope is that we can be gracious and patient with one another along the way, and keep the vision of being one unified church on mission with God as our focus.
  • What will happen if the vote passes?
    Although the legal details remain to be worked out, after an affirmative vote, we would quickly begin operating as one body joined together under lead church Eastside Community Church's leadership. A date for a final celebration service for each church would be announced, as well as a date for the first service as ONE new congregation. At an appropriate time, the legal entity formerly known as Eastgate Assembly of God would officially be divested into lead church Eastside Community Church as one congregation under a new name. This process will make us legally and officially one family of faith. As we build a new family culture, we will learn to exist and work together and become one body serving our Savior. This phase is complete when members no longer see themselves as "us" and "them", but instead as "we".
  • What happens if the vote does not pass?
    The boards of both congregations have had these discussions for the last several months with the prayer that if this is not of the Lord, that He make it abundantly clear. To date, no “red lights” have been put in our way. Our focus has been on the mission that compels us to reach our community and the world with the life-changing message of the gospel. That mission will continue. Nevertheless, if for some reason this vote is not affirmed, there will be implications for both congregations: Eastside will be back to meeting at the YMCA and searching for a facility to call home. Eastgate will be back to searching for their next lead pastor. Only the Lord knows our future, so we must depend on Him and seek His will as we discern together where He is leading us.
  • What will it cost?
    Both Eastgate and Eastside are in a healthy financial place. There will be costs for the legal process of the merger, which can be paid for through funds on hand. The major costs will relate to renovation and update of the facility. Actual costs are yet to be determined, but will likely be done in a phased approach.
  • What are my next steps?
    The boards of both congregations realize this news may be a bit surprising. We know that we will all have a lot of questions. We simply ask that you prayerfully consider this opportunity and pray for the boards and leadership of both churches as we navigate the details of this gospel partnership. Please also plan to attend the town hall meetings and joint fellowship time to join with members from both churches in prayer and dialogue. We desire to hear the voices of the people and want to be fully transparent during this process. You may submit questions via a connect card or by going to Vote on October 23 to acknowledge what you believe to be God’s will for us.
  • What is the schedule of events?
    Sunday Oct 2- During the AM service both ECC and EAG will make the initial announcement about the merger. Sunday Oct 2- During the PM service at EAG the board will have a Town Hall Meeting to answer questions from the church. Thursday Oct 6- ECC will host a Town Hall meeting at Discovery Church at 7PM. Saturday Oct 8- Pastor TJ and family will join EAG for an evening meal and a get to know you time. Sunday Oct 9- Pastor TJ will preach during the AM service at EAG. Sunday Oct 9- If needed Pastor TJ will return to EAG for the PM service to help answer questions. Tuesday Oct 11- ECC will host its 2nd Town Hall Meeting at Discovery Church at 7pm. Wednesday Oct 19- ECC and EAG will have a Dessert and Prayer time at EAG from 7-8:30PM Sunday Oct 23- Pastor TJ will lead the ECC congregational meeting and vote during the Sunday AM service. Pastor TJ will be with EAG for the congregational meeting and vote during their Sunday PM service.
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