Natural Church Development An introduction to a natural way to realisegrowth in your church Drawn from Christian A. Schwarz, Natural Church Development
The research… • Statistically validated • SDA Church included in international research ( 32 countries involved) • SDA Church is one of the highest utilisers of the NCD process • Outcome: 8 universal, natural principles—elements a church must have in order to be healthy and growing
NCD-A different way of thinking about growth Natural Church Development (NCD) is a paradigm – a way of thinking about church growth. Growth should be about quality (health) and not just quantity (numbers).
NCD-A different way of thinking about growth At the heart of the paradigm is the Scriptural picture of the church as a living organism, not just an organization (albeit a spiritual one). The growth of organisms focuses on their health, their capacity to reproduce, and how the individual 'body' parts interact. They are grown, not built. They are nurtured, not assembled.
Why church leaders find NCD helpful Natural Church Development liberates leaders wrestling with growth issues: It reminds them that God brings the growth and their role is to partner with Him, not try to generate the growth themselves. It offers universal growth principles that apply in all churches at all times.
Why church leaders find NCD helpful It provides regular accurate "snapshots" of a church's health, keeping the leadership focused on the most important issues to achieve long term sustainable growth. It outlines a process of continuous improvement through the NCD Cycle.
Why church leaders find NCD helpful It helps leaders focus on essential growth values. It provides concrete input for developing or refining vision.
Why church leaders find NCD helpful It helps maximize the effective use of limited time, energy and resources. It confirms long-held beliefs. The following comment is common: "Christian Schwarz affirms through the international research what I have been thinking for a long time, but until now nobody has done the research
Empowering leadership Gift-oriented ministry Passionate spirituality Effective structures Inspiring worship service Whole-life small group ministry Need-oriented evangelism Loving relationships 1. The 8 Quality Characteristics Note: The secret is in the adjectives…
2. The 6 Growth Forces "Human growth principles can bring about results: success in business, economic improvement, even church growth. However, the problem with many of these human concepts is that there is no inherent sustainable power behind them. They depend on great amounts of outside energy, and once that energy is reduced, everything collapses. What a contrast to the dynamics that we observe in God's creation, where the following principles are at work’ CYW p81
Interdependence Individual units are connected to each other in a larger system. Changes in one will affect others in the church and community.
I Corinthians 12:4-7 4 God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 5 God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 6 God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. 7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.
Interdependence What are the short and long-term effects of this action? “connecting”
Multiplication Healthy organisms do not grow endlessly but reproduce themselves.
Multiplication True fruit of apple tree is not an apple, but another tree. True fruit of small group is not a new Christian, but a new group. True fruit of a church is not a new group, but a new church.
The Power of Multiplication • £70,000 – 7 days • £140,000 – 14 days • £210,000 – 21 days • £280,000 – 28 days • £310,000 – 31 days • £1.28 – 7 days • £163.84 - 14 days • £20,971 – 21 days • £2,684,354 – 28 days • £21,474,836 – 31 days Would you choose the addition to your account of £10,000 per day for 31 days or 1 pence doubled/multiplied on day one and the balance doubled each day for 31 days?
Genesis 1:28-Be fruitful and multiply Matthew 28:19,20-The Great Commission
Multiplication How does this contribute to multiplication, not just addition? “reproducing”
Energy Transformation Momentum or energy already flowing, whether positive, potential or negative, can be redirected to accomplish God's purposes.
Energy Transformation • Paul - Acts 17: Paul‘s mission development strategy • Persecution - Acts 8: Through suffering, the church grows • Crucifixion of Jesus: Through ultimate sacrifice, life is restored to all
Energy Transformation How can we utilize positive and negative resources to fulfill God's purpose? “leveraging”
Sustainability Resources used should increase the capacity for on-going growth and development, as well as serve multiple purposes.
Sustainability EXAMPLE Raising up apprentice leaders. (No one serves alone. Each one, teach one.)
I Corinthians 3:6 Paul planted, Apollos watered II Timothy 2:2 What you have heard from me, entrust to faithful people
Sustainability How do these actions contribute to future ministry cycles? “recycling”
Symbiosis Different ministries can cultivate cooperative relationships so the mutual benefit is greater than operating separately.
Symbiosis • Cooperation • Mutual benefit • Greater results
Acts 13:2 Setting apart Barnabas and Saul (together they were better) Acts 15:36-40 Dynamic Duo breaks up but they don’t go it alone.
Symbiosis How can we work together to enhance ministry effectiveness? “cooperating/teamwork”
Fruitfulness Each ministry needs to produce discernible results in line with its intended purpose.
Fruitfulness Every good tree bears good fruit; you will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7) Measuring results (John 15) - Removing - Pruning - Cultivating
Matthew 7:17-20-Every good tree bears good fruit John 15:1-4-Cutting off the unfruitful, pruning for greater production
Fruitfulness How can we maximize the fruitfulness of this ministry? “evaluating”
Growth Forces • Interdependence = connecting • Multiplication = reproducing • Energy transformation= harnessing • Sustainability= recycling • Symbiosis = cooperating • Fruitfulness= evaluating
3. Trinitarian Compass Natural Church Development have developed the Trinitarian Compass. The Trinitarian Compass is about helping Christians have a holistic worldview, to theology, church growth, expression of mission, etc.
4. Minimum Factor This part of Natural Church Development relates to the 8 quality characteristics previously mentioned. When a NCD survey is completed, the survey reveals the results on a bar graph. The lowest of these 8 characteristics, is called the 'minimum factor'.
The “Minimum Factor” • Finding: Whenever a church works on one of the eight quality characteristics, the point value improves not only for that area, but for all other areasas well • Question: Which of the eight characteristics do you think are the most elemental, the most critical?
Empowering leadership Gift-based ministry Passionate spirituality Effective structures Inspiring worship service Whole-life small group ministry Need-oriented evangelism Loving relationships A healthy church: 8 characteristics ✔ ✔ Note: The secret is in the adjectives…
5. The NCD tools For NCD tools, you can check out the NCD International Page. Additional tools and helpful resources for growing healthy churches, can be found by searching for NCD national partners, for example, NCD UK, NCD Australia, NCD New Zealand and NCD USA to simply name a few.
The Natural Church Development Cycle-Putting NCD to work in your church Natural Church Development is not a survey. The survey is just one tool. Natural Church Development is a long-term process for strengthening the health and effectiveness of your church. The survey is a powerful diagnostic tool that identifies strengths and weaknesses, but a diagnosis is of little use unless it leads to action that improves health.
The Natural Church Development Cycle-Putting NCD to work in your church The NCD process can be viewed as a cycle:
The “all by itself” principle… • Mark 4:26–29: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces corn—first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Our “improvement” on this plan… • “This is what the business of church growth is like. After looking around the world for the best experts, we draw up a plan and refine it. Then we refine it again. Night and day, whether we’re supposed to be sleeping or not, we refine and work the plan as best we can. Finally, exhausted and discouraged, we accept a transfer. By then the harvest is over, the summer is passed; and as far as we can tell, few have been saved.”
Oops! Let’s go back to Plan A… • Mark 4:26–29: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces corn—first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
The “all by itself” principle… • 1 Cor. 3:6, 7: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
The “all by itself” principle… • God’s invitation is to for us to allow the Holy Spirit to build the church through Heaven’s own growth mechanisms—much better than having pastors, elders, etc. “push and shove” a congregation in their own strength!