The Great TRANSFER GROWTH Boogie Monster, part 2
Many church leaders are afraid of church multiplication because of the Great Transfer Growth Boogie Monster that will jump out and get us if we plant new churches. We tend to assume that ALL new churches just take members from existing churches. In my previous post, I talked about why this is wrong/bad strategy and I shared some of Dr. JD Payne’s great challenge to church planters to not settle for transfer growth over reaching the unchurched. (Read all the Ethical Guidelines for Church Planters here.)
Now, a few questions for pastors and ministry leaders on the other side of this, who are poopooing on the whole notion of church planting and off campus multiplication in fear of the great Transfer Growth Boogie Monster.
- Are you practicing what you’re crying out against? When I share with other ministry leaders some of JD Payne’s principles and my own process for those who may be wanting to transfer membership, most admit that they don’t do that themselves, pointing out that there is just no time. So time is better spent talking down the planting of new churches and making unfounded accusations about church planters who are seeking the good of the city? If you gladly shake the hands with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward transfer members, you should not use that as a reason against church planting.
- Is your fear of people leaving your church really just insecurity about your own ministry? If we believe in the sovereignty of God and his placing of people in the body as He sees fit, and if we are properly discipling people to understand who they are in Christ and their place in the body, what’s to fear? Unless we’re really just appealing to people’s consumeristic tendencies ourselves in order to “get some butts in the seats” (Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act). There will always be a better show come to town to draw consumeristic attenders. Building ministries with robust disciple making instead of a great and attractive show may mean slower growth at first, but greater commitment to the church family on mission together.
- Is the thought of people leaving your church scarier than people spending eternity in hell? Most pastors today will admit that there are population segments in their community that they cannot and will not reach. And at the same time, not lend support to the planting of new churches to reach those people. Are we content to leave significant numbers of people without a contextually appropriate gospel witness because of fear our numbers may dip?
Transfer growth is not best for the kingdom, but the real boogie moster for us is the growing number of unchurched Americans and those leaving the church and never coming back. We need church planters and healthy churches that will focus on making disciples through on and off campus multiplication.
We could head off transfer growth and grow the Kingdom through an effective SENDING/MULTIPLICATION strategy. That’s for a future post.
Check out Part 1 of The Great Transfer Growth Boogie Monster. Also check out my post entitled Commitment, Honor, & Transfer Growth which deals with ethical guidelines for ministry leaders to consider.