Techniques of church growth

6223785644In his essay entitled “Industrial or pastoral?: The Techniques of Church Growth,” church historian and elder DG Hart begins by asking the probing question:

Can measurements of “customer satisfaction,” which have largely been borrowed from the industrial and mechanical world, be helpfully appied to something that is fundamentally organic and mysterious-namely, the body of Christ?

He ends his essay with the following words:

Typically the doctrine of election is a comfort to individual believers because it teaches that God is sovereign in salvation and eternal life does not depend on the fickle whims of the human heart. But the doctrine of election is also a tremendous comfort to the Church corporately. Salvation does not depend on clever programs, strategic plans, or marketing savvy. It depends utterly upon God and his mercy. The Church, accordingly, has a tremendous responsibility to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, while parents have the equally large duty of rearing their children in the faith of their Baptism. The Church does not need to be in a constant state of anxiety, thinking up new ways of reaching the lost. The right techniques of church growth are the means of grace that God established when our Lord commissioned the apostles to disciple the nations by Word and Sacrament. These techniques are not flashy. In fact, they are rather low key. But as the Bible reveals, God has a habit of saving his people through means that the world considers foolish. And that is because, as Paul told the Corinthians, God wants everyone to see “the transcendent power” of salvation belongs to him, “not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

RCSS resonates with this vision for church planting.  Its an old school model and as far as we can tell it is more in keeping with Scripture than the “next big thing” consumerist mentality so prevalent in our Western pop culture…  You judge for yourself.