At a time when some churches have the appreance of struggling to grow their congregation there are many tools available claiming to help grow their church. Many provide steps and techniques that they claim they have proven to bring growth. One that I see popping up on my facebook feed is “The Church Playbook.”
The advertisement for this product claims “6 ways to go from 0 to 200 people.” Maybe I'm too simple minded. Maybe I truly don't understand the complex system it is to run a church. Maybe I just don't know what it takes for people to be drawn to be in the body of Christ.
I believe the Church has a playbook for growing. It is called the Bible. It contains all the Church needs to see God grow His Church. This growth will happen on a global and local scale. While it may not be laid out in “6 steps,” it is however sufficient for knowing how to do the work of ministry.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 2:1-5
The Apostle Paul gave his son in the faith, Timothy, instruction on shepherding the church. He tells Timothy what is important. “Preach the word.” Paul knows that is what God uses to grow the Church. Paul does not tell him to use a certain method, and if that doesn't work in a certain demographic then change the method. He charges Timothy to preach. He tells him to always be ready to preach. It is sound preaching and teaching that will change hearts and build the Church.
Many times in products like this and others the person selling it will say something like, “the message doesn't change. Only the method does.” But I believe changing the method will change the message. Especially when we have been given both the message and the method. Jesus builds His church on the preaching of Christ and Him crucified.