There is a good post over at Out of Ur about “felt needs” church growth. Very good critique of the supposed biblical foundation for it. Here is the penultimate paragraph:
Contradicting the gospel message is another danger of a hyper-felt-needs based approach to outreach. The gospel calls us to surrender our desires, take up our cross, and follow Christ. How can a church effectively invite people to “die to self” while constantly appealing to their self-interests? Whereas Jesus’ miracles of restoration were completely in sync with his message, our acts of service—particularly in an affluent, consumer culture—run the risk of undermining our message of personal sacrifice by promoting the satifaction of felt-needs/wants.
Yes! I've said it before, but it bears mentioning again, the most overlooked passages in the Bible are the ones that talk about death to self. It doesn't preach well in our self-absorbed society, but it is the essence of the gospel. Christ came to set us free from self; why, then, do we preach a self-indulgent “gospel?”