Organic vs. Artificial
I was a little disturbed this week to find that my favorite cereal had genetic soybean in it instead of all natural soy. It was even more disturbing to find that the cereal company that I thought was grass roots was in fact a concoction of the conglomerate Kellog. When we find out something isn’t real but instead artificial it leaves us with bad taste in our mouth, kind of like Pepsi Next, all the bad stuff diet plus none of the taste of the real thing. But I digress.
Churches can be artificial as well. They have the appearance of being real but in fact they are full of artificial fillers. I don’t want to make this post about the personality of the church but about how our churches grow. Does your church grow organically or artificially? What I mean by that is does your church grow by transfer growth or by salvations and baptisms?
I have been convicted of this lately because to be honest my church is around 85% transfer growth. I understand that and for awhile have accepted that but something has been growing inside of me for more organic growth in our church. I want to see our church grow by reaching the unchurched and dechurched. Our staff has been in conversations about this since the beginning of the year on how best to do that.
On one hand a big demographic in our area are single ladies in their 60’s & 70’s who golf twice a week at the country club. On the other hand our little Village is packed full of families barely squeaking by financially and exhausted from running their kids all over kingdom come for sports activities that are a big part of the reason they are so strapped. So how do you reach them when they would rather sleep in on Sunday then drag the family to church?
I don’t have any answers for you in this post but instead I hope to open up a discussion on how churches can be more organic in their communities. Let’s be honest people who are saved and disciple in your church have a tendency to stay longer, be more patient, and less demanding. We are taking steps to reach the lost and hurting in our area. We are not sure how that will end up looking but I know we are at the stage of wanting to try more.
I love the heart of this post. Thanks for sharing!
Am I right in thinking you’re not saying that all transfer growth is bad? I think some transfer growth is the result of God genuinely calling undiscipled believers from a weak, Gospel-hiding church to a church that faithfully preaches the Word and is saturated with the Gospel. On the other hand, some transfer growth is also the result of believers sidestepping the conflict-resolution methods given in Scripture, which actively hinders their discipleship. Thanks again!
Hi, Chuck – I think this is something we all struggle with (or should struggle with and try to think through). Some transfer growth is the merely consumer oriented believer. They want to attend the ‘church of what’s happening now.’ A lot of transfer growth is refugee and immigrant growth – and I don’t mean this in an ethnic or nationalistic sense. People do leave places where spiritual food is scarce or where, due to theological changes, they are in hostile territory if they remain at a church. I wouldn’t be surprised if in thinking through this, the majority of the transfer growth you’ve experienced is due to refugee and immigrant growth. What do you think?
I agree. I know God sent me to where I am at because people were starving biblically and relationally. I don’t despise those who have transferred into our church but I long for our own births. That excitement is missing and I want to recapture that.
You are right. Not all transfer growth is bad and I do believe that many people change churches for good reasons but the majority is consumerism and has a host of issues.