Merger FAQ

Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

These are familiar words that are very easy to say and very challenging to live out. There are times throughout our lives when our faith in the Lord will be put to the test. Our church is in the midst of such a time, and we have every reason to continue to believe in the work He is doing in and through us.

As we shared back in December, the Elders have been prayerfully seeking the Lord’s direction for our Church as we face changes in our church membership and resources. God has been moving, and we sense that He is calling us to trust Him with our future. 

We have long desired and prayed that the Lord would provide an opportunity to be an even stronger and better resource for spreading the Gospel in our community. We have the blessing of a wonderful facility, but have been limited  by finances and resources. We see the Lord providing a potential answer to these prayers as He has allowed us to meet  the folks at Redeemer Church here in Bellevue. Redeemer has the blessing of resources and have been praying that God would provide a permanent home for their growing church.

We would like for you to prayerfully consider the possibility of a merger of our two churches as we seek the Lord’s direction for our future.

Proposed Timeline


Sunday, March 5

  • Church Business Meeting following the morning service. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tuesday, March 7

  • Tuesday Night Prayer Service at EBF (in person)

Ongoing after March 7

  • Optional meetings with Pastor Robin and other Board Members

Sunday, March 26

  • Q&A with Pastor Gabe and other Redeemer leaders after morning service

Sunday, April 2

  • Q&A with Pastor Robin at Redeemer

April 16, 23, 30

  • Joint services with Redeemer at EBF

Sunday, May 7

  • Business Meeting – Church Vote 

Sunday, June 4

  • Potential first Official Service
Official Launch in September

EBF Board Contact Information


Robin Porter, Lead Pastor
Neal Gardenhire, Board Chairman
Ken Mills


Jim Caywood, Head Deacon
Dallas Boyer
Ed Marlow

Snapshot of Redeemer – Leadership


Gabe Davis
Lead Pastor
Andy Phipps
Jerod Harper
Executive Pastor


Riley Forest
Director of Worship and Arts
Katie Sundin
Director of Redeemer Kids
Cameron Johnson
Director of Student Ministries
Brandon Schoenberger
Director of Facilities
Lauren Schneringer
Director of Women’s Ministries

Q1. How did this merger idea come about?

Pastor Robin and Pastor Gabe met last summer through mutual friends. What began as a friendly conversation of two pastors getting to know each other with several things in common, soon became a deeper conversation about the challenges both churches are facing and their shared vision for how God is moving in our local community.

A couple of weeks after their initial meeting, Gabe approached Robin with the idea of potentially merging churches. While surprised at first, Robin said he was open to further discussions, but only if God was for it. They started meeting on a weekly basis – talking through doctrine, where we differ, where we’re aligned. There is consistent alignment on all the essential doctrines without which there would be no reason to continue the conversation. In regards to determining this it boiled down to four main categories: Issues to Die For, Divide Over, Debate/Discuss, and Deal With. Over many weeks it was determined that while there were/are areas of Debate and Discussion, there are no issues that would hinder us from continuing to pursue the Lord’s leading in this potential path. (If you would like to investigate this further, please read the Statements of Faith for both EBF and Redeemer.

Robin and Gabe, and later both church boards, started reading the book “Better Together” which helped frame the discussion and address all of the important issues surrounding church mergers. By October of last year both Elder Boards began meeting together. Our boards have prayed together, fasted, and sought God’s direction throughout this process. To date, both sides feel confident about taking the next careful steps forward in this process.

Q2. Why are we considering this merger?

God’s hand has been guiding this full process. We believe we are called to create disciples and grow our church body. A few years ago, we clearly laid out our vision for our church where we dreamt of 250 members who are committed to a relationship with Jesus and a network of 25 small groups doing life and ministry together. As we have sought to have an impact in people’s lives to Connect, Grow, and Serve the Lord, we believe that we can accomplish more by joining with what God is already doing through Redeemer. There is tremendous potential for intergenerational impact. We believe that we’re a strong fit for one another and will indeed be better together. We want to be good stewards of what God has given us. We also want to honor those who established and built Eastgate Bible Fellowship by making the best use of our resources and community presence.

Q3. Tell me a little more about Redeemer. Who are they and what do they believe?

Redeemer is a non-denominational Gospel-centered church currently meeting across 1-90 at the Eastside Christian School. Like EBF, they are focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Officially established in January 2015, Redeemer has grown significantly over the past several years. They are a young and growing church of mainly young families. They have about 160 attending their services and about 121 members. You will have the opportunity to meet many from Redeemer over the next several weeks, and you can learn more about them by visiting their website

Q4. Do they have a Children’s Ministry and Youth Group?

Yes. As a church with many young families, they have a thriving children’s ministry and a growing youth ministry. They have about 46 children in their children’s ministry with 52 active volunteers. Their youth ministry has 15 students and six leaders. They had 18 youth events last year alone serving as many as 45 students. They have long sought out more senior counselors to their youth, and our seniors have amazing talents and wisdom to lend.

Q5. What do we know about Redeemer’s Finances? Are they financially sound?

You can learn more about Redeemer’s financial process in their annual report on their website ( Last year, Redeemer gave more than $662,253 including missionary and local outreach support and ended their fiscal year with a surplus of $25,981. 

Q6. Who will be our pastor?

Redeemer is led by a plurality of both full-time and lay elders. Pastor Gabe Davis will be the lead pastor who will be responsible for the majority of the preaching. Pastor Robin will serve as Director of Connections and Community Engagement– leaning into his gifts of teaching and relational ministry. 

Redeemer has a robust elder equipping process which every man must complete so that any elder could take on the teaching and preaching responsibility for the church. Redeemer’s elders share the responsibility of preaching throughout the year and Robin will have opportunities to preach whenever possible. 

Worship services will continue to be centered on Christ, just as they have always been. The fundamental core of our worship will not change as there is a blend of hymns and contemporary music led by a worship band. Because they want to know who they are ministering to and are very deliberate about their in-person worship services they do not host a public live stream of the service. That being said, Redeemer has a very intentional ministry to the sick and the shut-in, so private livestream links are sent directly to those who need it. Sermons are posted online later for all to see. You can check them out here Sermons – Redeemer Church (

Q7. What will happen to Pastor Robin and the EBF Staff?

Pastor Robin will assume the position of Director of Connections and Community Engagement, He will play an essential role in fostering a strong integration for both churches. He will lean into his gifts of connection and teaching to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. Brendan Cole, our Life Development and Worship Pastor, would take on an elevated position to serve across a number of areas of ministry. While he won’t be the lead worship or youth pastor, he will be given opportunities to serve in a variety of roles within the church. Other staff roles will need to be evaluated based on need and priorities.  

Q8. What will happen to the EBF church board and committees?

Everyone currently serving on the EBF Board (elders and deacons) will operate as a transition team for the first year of the merger. We will be leaning on these important leaders as we begin the transition process. Over time, our elders would go through the Redeemer elder training process to be re-elected. While Redeemer has deacons, they do not have a role on the elder board.

Q9. Will we still rent out space to other ministries?

Possibly. All auxiliary ministries and community activities would be evaluated and weighed against core ministry priorities.

Q10. How will the current membership be transferred?

Eastgate Bible Fellowship members will be adopted by Redeemer. All members will be required to attend a Getting to Know Redeemer class. The goal is for the full body to be grounded in the church’s mission, vision, and teachings. 

Q11. Does Redeemer have the same bylaws as EBF?

Redeemer’s bylaws share a likeness to ours, but not completely the same. Whereas EBF bylaws state that the leadership of the church is composed of elders, deacons, and trustees, Redeemer is an Elder-led church. There are deacons but they do not serve in the same capacity on the board as they do here at EBF. Redeemer was recently inspired by our bylaws in terms of members having a vote in important matters of the church. They changed their bylaws and now their members are voting members. 

Q12. What will happen to the Food Bank?

The Food Bank is one of the ministries Redeemer was attracted to. They have long wanted a tangible means to serve the local community and the Food Bank will continue and hopefully grow even further. 

Q13. What will happen to our Youth Group? Children’s Ministry? Men’s and Women’s Ministry?

Each of these ministries will grow and thrive in this new structure.

Q14. What will happen to our supported missionaries and organizations?

Redeemer is a mission minded church, and like Eastgate, they want to follow God’s word in making disciples of all nations. Redeemer is currently focused on intentionally supporting 7 missionaries in six regions with seven church planting efforts. Additionally, they have given more than $10,000 to local ministry partners – including CareNet of Puget Sound, Vision House and REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade).  

Eastgate’s current missionaries will not see any changes in support for the next year. After one year, all missionaries will be assessed based on the fiscal year budget and priorities. The only exception will be Chris and Rose Duryee, as they will continue to be supported by Redeemer as their newly-formed sending church. 

All missions giving will be assessed over the course of the next year. The idea is to support more missionaries, but also want to ensure missionaries align with church planting and missions goals.

Q15. How will the budget and finances be managed?

Redeemer has an Executive Pastor, Jerod Harper, that is trained in finance and accounting and is trained to be the business manager. Their fiscal year begins in June and the hope is that we will have combined finances and budget starting in the next fiscal year. 

Q16. What will the merger cost? Can we afford it?

There will be legal fees, filing, and paperwork that will require a nominal fee. We believe that through our partnership with Redeemer this will be a negligible amount in our full-year budget. The loan we have with the Baptist Network Northwest (BNN) will be resolved as a matter of the merger process.

Q17. Who will decide if this merger happens?

EBF is an Board-led church that requires a vote from members. There will be a vote by Eastgate Bible Fellowship members, which requires a quorum and a 2/3 majority vote. Therefore, it’s very important that you become engaged in the process and join us for our business meetings. Redeemer will also follow a similar voting process.

Q18. What is the timeline for this proposed merger?

See the timeline above. We are taking the next several weeks to give you all time to learn more about Redeemer and understand the vision for this merger. We want to take the time to get it right and for you to meet those from Redeemer. We will have joint worship services hosted here at EBF with Redeemer on April 16, 23, and 30. From there, we plan for a church vote on May 7. If the vote affirms the merger of our churches, then we would plan to begin meeting together at EBF beginning June 4 with an official launch in September.

Q19. What are my next steps?

We ask that you prayerfully seek out God’s will for us all. Pray for the future direction of our church, for Christ to be glorified, and for us to be good stewards of the resources God has given to us. Please pay special attention to the Proposed Timeline on Page 2 of this document. 

We will have an in-person Prayer Meeting on Tuesday, March 7 and would ask that you join us. And, then, we ask that you join us on March 26 to meet with Gabe and the rest of the Redeemer leadership. 

Along the way, we encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns. Robin and our board are happy to set up additional time to chat with you.

Thank you for your participation and interest in this church body and for your prayerful consideration of this proposal. To God Be The Glory!