Fundamentally organic and mysterious

[Church growth proponents] apply industrial and mechanical models to something that is fundamentally organic and mysterious, the Body of Christ. Modern ideas about church growth stem directly from business techniques… –Recovering Mother Kirk, p. 45.

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. -ibid, p.50

These comments are spot-on. People decide that God’s ancient means for growing and nurturing His church aren’t good enough. And so, videos and skits replaced Bible reading. Uplifting praise music replaced the psalter (which has it share of minor keys). It replaced more Biblical hymns (well, sometimes). It replaced prayer. Meanwhile, therapy and moralism replaced sound preaching.

Eventually these fads will go the way of the altar call, itself a fad that replaced communion. A 19th-century innovation with Pelagian underpinnings, the altar call faded as churches found that successful people would rather skip the embarrassment of “going forward.” And the church growth movement is about nothing if not giving people what they want.

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