True church growth transfers people from the domain of darkness into the glorious light of Christ.
On Thursday, we looked at the first three shifts to experience transformation in our churches. Today, I’ll share the final three.
Shift 4: The church must make the shift from swapping members to having the primary growth strategy of going after people who do not yet belong
This seems to be where most churches struggle. According to Rick Richardson’s research, only 40 percent of the churches in America are growing. However, only 10 percent of these churches are experience growth through conversion. That means the other 30 percent of churches that grow are doing so by swapping members. [See his book, You Found Me.]
Don’t misunderstand me here. It’s not like I’m against transferring from one church to another. I realize there are many good reasons to transfer church membership. Other church leaders have written some good articles about this.
What I am suggesting here is for churches to stop relying and [even] celebrating “growth” when the growth has been predominantly through transfer. The reality is, transfer growth is inflated growth. It’s not like transfer growth pushes back darkness. True church growth transfers people from the domain of darkness into the glorious light of Christ.
If we were honest, much transfer growth happens with disgruntled members over tertiary or preferential issues. And rather than sit down to talk about the issue, they leave without notice.
If I had to guess, there are a lot of serial transfer memberships, because if you leave one church because of issues, it is only a matter of time before you leave another church. Why? Because all churches have issues! All churches are made up of imperfect people being perfected into the image of Christ. Therefore, it …