Divine Merger: What Happens When Jesus Collides with Your Community, By Mark E. Strong

Divine Merger

What Happens When Jesus Collides with Your Community

by Mark E. Strong
Foreword by Kevin Palau

Divine Merger
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Published: February 11, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4452
  • ISBN: 9780830844524

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What would happen if your community had a head-on collision with Jesus? Pastor and community leader Mark Strong says, "You would have exactly what God wants: a divine merger!" He continues: "A divine merger is when the church intentionally integrates with its community. . . . The result is a kingdom transformation."

This book is designed to give you the vision and tools you need to fulfill your own God-given mission in your community and church. Ranging from single-person sponsored ministries to church-wide and even multi-church regional ministries, these pages are packed full of ideas. The practical wisdom here will help any follower of Christ, pastor or church leader engage their community. Each chapter concludes with questions for reflection appropriate for either individuals or groups.

Are you ready to plan your divine merger?

"Gentrification, spiritual lethargy and the clash between new realities and old dreams are part of Mark's journey as a leader in his church and community. As one who strives to live his life fully invested in both spheres, Mark provides in this book a mixture of practical implementation, pastoral encouragement and theological grounding for embracing our call to partner with Jesus in the transformative collisions between our church and our community."

Rick McKinley, lead pastor, Imago Dei Community, Portland, OR, author of Jesus in the Margins

"Mark Strong is a pastor's pastor, and a deeply committed leader and preacher. In Divine Merger he challenges us to do the spiritual work of bringing our communities and our churches together. He does this with wisdom and grace, inviting us to intentionally seek God's leading for change for both sides. The book is inspiring, biblical and practical. If you want to catalyze change in your church and community, this book, filled with stories of Mark's own experiences and insights learned on the battlefront, can be a trusted guide."

MaryKate Morse, George Fox Seminary, author of A Guidebook to Prayer

"Mark Strong is a legend in our city. The archetype of a wise, humble, faithful urban pastor. Many younger planters look to him for more than mentorship, but for a template to pour our own lives into. When a guy like Mark talks about the collision of Jesus and community, I listen."

John Mark Comer, Bridgetown: A Jesus Church, Portland, OR

"Overall the book stresses the importance of relationships. It belongs in the missions and evangelism category. This kind of work is what John Perkins calls 'holistic community development,' and I would recommend it for those interested in urban ministry."

Dave Baker, CBA Retailers+Resources, March 16, 2016


Foreword by Kevin Palau
1. Strategic Positioning
2. Break Out
3. Capturing Passion
4. Presenting an Authentic Jesus
5. Community Navigation
6. A Towel or a Title
7. Praying for Your Community
8. Depending on the Spirit
9. Finding Balance
10. Super-Simple Plan


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Mark E. Strong

Mark E. Strong (DMin, Portland Seminary) is senior pastor of Life Change Church, a diverse congregation located in the heart of inner-city Portland, Oregon. He serves on the Board of Regents at George Fox Seminary, and his books include Church for the Fatherless and Divine Merger. He is also the founder of Father-Shift, a ministry that address the needs of the fatherless epidemic affecting our world. He and his wife, Marla, have four children.