Expanding Or Just Transferring The Kingdom Of God
A number of church growth experts finally admitted that the growth they measured in the Church in the 1980’s was not new growth, or real growth, but transfer growth. They acknowledged that the growth they saw was simply Christians leaving older churches to jump on board with a new church in town. The actual numbers of new converts or un-churched Christians coming into the Body of Christ was almost indiscernible. Did this stop any of the applauding? Nope. People just kept on insisting that the Kingdom of God was expanding rather than coming to terms with what was really taking place. Namely, that the Kingdom of God was simply transferring from one location to another location i.e. transfer growth. Not new, or real growth, just plain old transfer growth. Don’t get me wrong. Transfer growth can be good at times, but when it is the primary or only mechanism of growth, applauding it sends the wrong message. When the vast majority of the growth we have comes from sheep leaving other local churches for the wrong reasons, we should hang our heads rather than giving “high fives”, patting our selves on the back, and hosting congratulation parties. No, I am telling you, we should be hanging our heads!
Growth With Integrity
When leaders make their target for growth the un-churched and the lost, healthy dynamics result. Again, some transfer growth done with honor is good. Transfer growth, coupled with a primary emphasis on the lost and the disengaged believer, will poise a church for new and real growth. This growth we can and should applaud. It is growth that can be measured with integrity. It is growth that we can truly feel good about. This would be the basis for celebratory parties and pep rallies. We could also do some “high fiving” and boast in the Lord for the real growth that He has given.
Starting A New Church
When we decide to start a new work, lets make sure that our focus is the lost and un-churched. If we are to receive transfer growth from the churches around us, let’s make sure that we work with the leaders of the Body of Christ in that area in a way that is full of honor and dignity. When receiving transfer growth, a call or email to their former Pastor is most always a good and wise thing to do. If there is caution given to you concerning from the former congregation, it would be prudent to turn the new person away lest you gain a “Jonah” on your ship. There are exceptions, but a call or email should always be prayerfully considered. Having the blessing of the other Senior leaders in a city fosters unity and love, which leads to blessings from God. Let’s focus on the lost and un-churched and when receiving transfer growth let’s do that with honor and integrity as it relates to all involved, especially the community they left behind. Selah!