Theology trumps methodology

church growth methodology

Them’s big words in the title. What it means is this: Much church growth theory and practice revolves around methods. But if we work at being the church of God as revealed in Scripture, methods are icing on the cake.

Larry Miles’s article yesterday on The Fellowship Room, “Five Reasons the Early Church Grew (Acts 4),” reminded me of this truth.

I’m not against methods. To do anything, we have to adopt some sort of methodology. I’ve just proposed to the churches here, who sometimes use no method at all — meaning no work gets done — that we adopt 13 methods in 2013 to win 13 souls (keying off the fame of 12-12-12).

But methods without identity are useless. In Scripture, methods are almost afterthought. The church that has truth, and mission, and the Spirit of God, will get the job done, regardless of the how.

Again, this is no argument against planning, either. We need more of it. But before that, we need more of the certainty of our salvation and the conviction that, without the message we have in our hands, the world is irretrievably lost.

3 thoughts on “Theology trumps methodology

  1. About 20 years ago I was working on a thesis on mission methods, and I found that in Orthodox mission in tropical Africa in the 20th century, just about every mission method that had ever been used anywhere in 20 centuries of church history has been used there. See Orthodox mission in tropical Africa

    My research didn’t go so far as trying to work out which method led to most numerical growth, so the church growth school may think my research did not go deep enough, but I was just amazed at the variety.

    1. It’s amazing to discover all the methods that have been used by the various religious groups. Your research must have been an eye-opener. I would not have thought it true of the Orthodox, so that’s a fascinating item about them you bring up. Thanks for chiming in!

      1. Actually, the only method I found the Orthodox have not used with much success in tropical Africa is the one that has worked so well elsewhere — monastic mission.

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