"A family from your church wants to join our church."
The pastor who called me was genuine in his request. We don't have many people transferring into our church from other churches. And we don't have many people transferring out either.
In this instance, the reasons were noble for leaving our church and going to another church. I'm glad we had a conversation about it.
Transfer growth occurs when a church member moves his or her membership to another church.
It's also the case that a few churches seek transfer growth as a strategy—never explicitly stated, of course, but completely obvious. Typically, this unstated strategy is expressed in a benign but pretentious phrase like, "We're the best. Why would you go anywhere else?"
In today's consumeristic society, I'm not surprised some churches would use this tactic. However, my missiology leads me to believe that "meet them where they are" refers to unbelievers, not other church members.
There are plenty of bad reasons to transfer to another church. Reasons like "They're the best." Or "They have the program I like." Or "They play music I like." Or "They have coffee every Sunday morning." Far too many churches have low standards of membership, and transfer growth tends to bloom like algae in these environments. I don't want to sound too harsh, but it feels slimy when people jump into churches for those reasons.
But not all transfer growth is bad. Not every person is a church hopper, looking for the next best thing. In fact, there are good reasons to transfer to another church, even one right down the road. I'll give five good reasons you should accept transfer growth.
- Geography. In today's transient culture, transfer growth is an inevitable reality. Most churches will experience some transfer growth. When you move to another city, you should transfer membership to another church. Additionally, churches should reach out to believers who are new to the area.
- Theology. When a church makes wholesale changes to doctrine, then it's time to consider a move to another church. If you believe something completely different from what your church believes, it's better for you to find a church closer to your beliefs. When people come to your church because of doctrine, then you should consider receiving them.
- Family. It's best for families to worship and make disciples together. When two families blend together, they should attend the same church. When parents move back in with children in their last season of life, decisions must be made about what church to join. Family reasons are good reasons to transfer.
- Abandonment. This reason is tragic, but cases of abandonment occur. I know of occurrences where one group in a church pushed out another group unjustly. The abandoned group must find another church. You're not wrong to receive this group at your church.
- Life stage. This reason is broad, but a life stage change could be a legitimate reason to transfer churches. Sometimes you get to an age where you can't drive as far and you must find another church closer to your residence. You might adopt a special needs child that could require a completely different schedule and necessitate a transfer.
Several good reasons exist to move your membership to another church. Not all transfer growth is bad.
For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.