Over the years that I have pastored I have heard many reasons why members do not want to transfer their membership from their home churches to a local church. Here are a few reasons I have heard:
‘I still support my “small” home church with my tithes and offerings’
‘I don’t see why I should transfer my membership. I am involved in church, ministry and it’s just a name on a book’
‘Our home conference will not grant us a burial plot if our names are not on the books back home’
‘I am here for only a few years, what’s the point of transferring membership?’
‘I do not know where my membership is’
The list is long and arduous. But did you know that the church manual (p. 52) says that, ‘members who move to another locality for longer than six months should make immediate applications for letters of transfer.’
Whatever reason you may have for not wanting to transfer your membership to your local church, it is a very personal decision. However, here are a few things I would like to suggest that you think about:
- If God placed you in this place (the Gulf region), why is it a problem to have your name transferred? The reason you are here is because God opened up an opportunity for you to be here. He blessed you with a job for a reason. The opportunity that God opened up is not necessarily just a financial opportunity, but also an opportunity to get involved in your local church and its local ministries.
- Membership transfer is not a complicated process. All you have to do to get your membership transferred is talk to your church clerk. The rest is something the church clerk will sort out.
- You might say, “I do not know where my membership is.” Well, don’t worry we will sort it out. That is our job. All you have to do is ask.
- You might feel that it is culturally shameful to transfer your membership. What would the church back home think about you? I want to reiterate, don’t stress out about it. You are simply following a regular church procedure. It may be the right thing for you to do so that you can support your local church.
- You might think to yourself, “My home church needs me more than the church in the Gulf.” Here is something to think about. Would you be able to walk into “Subway” in the Gulf, order food and tell the worker, “I know you have a “Subway” chain in Beirut, so I want to pay them to support them.” They would kick you out because THEY are the ones providing you with the service. Your local church is providing you with a service, if you would allow me to put it in laymen’s terms. Is it right to eat the food, enjoy every blessing, and go and pay someone else for the services? The local church needs your time, talents, and finances.
- While we have thousands of members in the Gulf, every one of you counts. Every one of you is important. Numbers do make a difference in this part of the world for reasons that cannot be put down on paper.
I hope and pray that as you go to church this coming Saturday, you would take the responsibility of transferring your membership seriously, pray about it, and perhaps you might approach your clerk, pastor or elder and talk to him or her and begin the process of transferring your membership. The rest is up to us.