Natural Church Development
Uncovering what people in your church are really thinking an expecting from your ministry.
Assessing the quality of your church’s health
In order to assess one’s physical well-being it is necessary to undergo a battery of diagnostic tests, some more intrusive than others. When your doctor presents the results, you either breathe a sigh of relief or ask, “What’s next?” In both events you have a clear picture of the state of your health. The same holds true for churches. People’s real attitudes, feelings and perspectives are hard to determine at times, especially in a church. So what kind of diagnostic tool gets below the surface to uncover what people are thinking and expecting in your community of faith?
Natural Church Development (NCD) is a way of understanding church health and growth that views the church as a living organism. It does not ask the question "How can we grow our church?" It assumes that God desires to see every church actively involved in God's redemptive mission.
Natural Church Development helps pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in the local church, aiding the church in determining what systems are working and which ones need attention. Sometimes making the right adjustments can unlock God's power in a church, which will lead to a fruitful impact.
NCD focuses on eight quality characteristics during the assessment:
- Empowering leadership
- Gift-oriented ministry
- Passionate spirituality
- Effective structures
- Inspiring worship
- Holistic small groups
- Need-oriented evangelism
- Loving relationships
The key is that all eight are activated by the Holy Spirit. We can see these qualities coming alive in Acts 2:41-47.
The benefits of Natural Church Development
- It reminds us that God brings forth the growth.
- It helps us focus on principles, not programs.
- It helps your church discover its critical factor for development of the church and its current situation.
- It focuses your church’s resources (human, financial, etc.) at the critical points.
- It identifies your church’s strengths and weaknesses.
- It provides a regular and accurate snapshot of your church’s health.
- It outlines a process for improving quality. It helps focus on essential growth values.
- It provides input for developing/refining vision.
- It saves time and eliminates the risks of inaccurate analysis.
- It provides the basis for a one-year ministry plan with an objective evaluation at the end of that year.
At any time in the life of a church it will have a weak quality/system that needs to be addressed, fixed or developed further. By means of a self-diagnostic survey taken by the 30 key influencers in the church, NCD helps the leadership recognize that system which needs to be targeted for improvement. Knowing what the congregation is really thinking about the health of its systems is invaluable information for a pastor and his leadership team.
Converge knows the value strong churches add to people, communities and nations, and it shows through a commitment to strengthen churches by investing in leaders. Our church is much more effective in reaching people for Christ because we’re stronger spiritually, organizationally and relationally.
Rod Hairston, Messiah Community Church, MD