Presentation on theme: "Natural Church Development"— Presentation transcript:
1Natural Church Development Natural Church GrowthNatural Church DevelopmentAn introduction to a natural way to realise growth in your churchDrawn from Christian A. Schwarz, Natural Church Development√ Reason for this presentation: Critical that the congregation has understanding, involvement, buy-in. The process must outlive whoever happens to be in leadership or pastorship at the time.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
2Natural Church Growth√ About 60,000 surveys have now been done worldwide (2010)Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
3The research… Statistically validated SDA Church included in international research ( 32 countries involved)SDA Church is one of the highest utilisers of the NCD processOutcome: 8 universal, natural principles—elements a church must have in order to be healthy and growing
4NCD-A different way of thinking about growth Natural Church GrowthNCD-A different way of thinking about growthNatural Church Development (NCD) is a paradigm – a way of thinking about church growth. Growth should be about quality (health) and not just quantity (numbers).Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
5NCD-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.
6Why 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.
7Why 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.
8Why church leaders find NCD helpful It helps leaders focus on essential growth values. It provides concrete input for developing or refining vision.
9Why 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
10The 5 Basic Components of Natural Church Development
111. The 8 Quality Characteristics Natural Church Growth1. The 8 Quality CharacteristicsEmpowering leadershipGift-oriented ministryPassionate spiritualityEffective structuresInspiring worship serviceWhole-life small group ministryNeed-oriented evangelismLoving relationshipsNote: The secret is in the adjectives…Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
122. 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
16I Corinthians 12:4-74 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.
17Interdependence “connecting” What are the short and long-term effects of this action?“connecting”
18MultiplicationHealthy organisms do not grow endlessly but reproduce themselves.
19Multiplication 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.
20The Power of Multiplication 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?£70,000 – 7 days£140,000 – 14 days£210,000 – 21 days£280,000 – 28 days£310,000 – 31 days£1.28 – 7 days£ days£20,971 – 21 days£2,684,354 – 28 days£21,474,836 – 31 days
21Genesis 1:28-Be fruitful and multiply Matthew 28:19,20-The Great Commission
22Multiplication “reproducing” How does this contribute to multiplication,not just addition?“reproducing”
23Energy Transformation Momentum or energy already flowing, whether positive, potential or negative, can be redirected to accomplish God's purposes.
24Energy Transformation Paul - Acts 17: Paul‘s mission development strategyPersecution - Acts 8: Through suffering, the church growsCrucifixion of Jesus: Through ultimate sacrifice, life is restored to all
25Energy Transformation How can we utilize positive and negative resources to fulfill God's purpose?“leveraging”
26SustainabilityResources used should increase the capacity for on-going growth and development, as well as serve multiple purposes.
27SustainabilityEXAMPLE Raising up apprentice leaders. (No one serves alone. Each one, teach one.)
28I Corinthians 3:6 Paul planted, Apollos watered II Timothy 2:2 What you have heard from me, entrust to faithful people
29Sustainability “recycling” How do these actions contribute to future ministry cycles?“recycling”
30SymbiosisDifferent ministries can cultivate cooperative relationships so the mutual benefit is greater than operating separately.
32Acts 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.
33“cooperating/teamwork” SymbiosisHow can we work together toenhance ministry effectiveness?“cooperating/teamwork”
34FruitfulnessEach ministry needs to produce discernible results in line with its intended purpose.
35Fruitfulness Measuring results (John 15) - Removing - Pruning Every good tree bears good fruit; you will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7)Measuring results (John 15)- Removing- Pruning- Cultivating
36Matthew 7:17-20-Every good tree bears good fruit John 15:1-4-Cutting off the unfruitful, pruning for greater production
37Fruitfulness “evaluating” How can we maximize the fruitfulness of this ministry?“evaluating”
393. Trinitarian CompassNatural 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.
404. Minimum FactorThis 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'.
41Natural Church GrowthThe “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 areas as wellQuestion: Which of the eight characteristics do you think are the most elemental, the most critical?√ The Minimum Factor is a matter of WHEN to do WHAT√ The Minimum Factor is minimum because we don’t like doing it, or we don’t think it’s important, or we don’t know what to do about it√ Guessing the Minimum Factor usually doesn’t work—of 40 churches in one study, only three guessed their Minimum Factor correctly√ Cf the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3—it might be said that God pointed out their minimum and maximum factors!Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
42A healthy church: 8 characteristics Natural Church GrowthA healthy church: 8 characteristicsEmpowering leadershipGift-based ministryPassionate spiritualityEffective structuresInspiring worship serviceWhole-life small group ministryNeed-oriented evangelismLoving relationships✔✔√ Schwarz chooses Small Groups as the one most likely to spur growth in all the other areas; while in an observed training, his associates named Passionate Spirituality as the most basic, the one that cannot be missing. Clearly, there is a very close relationship between the two.√ Sadly, the Adventist church generally scores low in this area. Adventist NCD personnel report that the lowest on record was for an Adventist church in the area of passionate spirituality. (And, one Adventist church scored a virtually impossible 0 on Loving Relationships!)Note: The secret is in the adjectives…Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
435. The NCD toolsFor 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.
44The 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.
45The Natural Church Development Cycle-Putting NCD to work in your church The NCD process can be viewed as a cycle:
46The “all by itself” principle… Natural Church GrowthThe “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.”Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
47Our “improvement” on this plan… Natural Church GrowthOur “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.”Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
48Oops! Let’s go back to Plan A… Natural Church GrowthOops! 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.”Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
49The “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.”
50The “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!
53Two kinds of growth… Growth in numbers (quantity) Natural Church GrowthTwo kinds of growth…Growth in numbers (quantity)Growth in spirituality (quality)Question: How would you describe these two? Which is more important? What is their relationship?√ Critical when we talk about church growth to have clearly in mind first spiritual growth, and second numerical growthRocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
54Natural Church GrowthThe question of goalsQuestion: Are numerical goals critical for church growth?7 out of 10 fast-growing churches do not have numerical growth goalsQuality goals are more importantThese goals work best when they are precise, challenging, time-bound, measurable & verifiable√ Goals can motivate people when they touch on areas that they can personally influence. (Most members, as individuals, cannot directly influence worship attendance goals.) (P 44.) It is still useful to track worship attendance and analyze trends (p 45). Examples of a quality goals: “By the end of November, 80 percent of all regular worship attenders will know their spiritual gifts.” “By the end of December this year, we will have determined a point person for each of the nine areas of ministry our church has established.” “By the end of this year, our pastor will be released from 20 per cent of his regular responsibilities in order to dedicate this time to the training of lay workers.” (Pp 44, 111)√ Willow Creek leadership in 2007 confessed they had been too focused on numerical growth, and not focused enough on the spiritual disciplines. The research showed that nearly one out of every four people in the church were stalled in their spiritual growth or dissatisfied with the church, and many of these were thinking about leaving.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
55A healthy church: 8 characteristics Empowering leadershipLeaders in the congregation are empowered to ministerThe pastor leads primarily by relationships, discipleship & delegationLeadership is not by personal authority or the power of theological training
56A healthy church: 8 characteristics Gift-based ministryMinistry is based on the individual gifts and calling in the congregationThe ministry plan is not a “prescription” from leadership, with a call for “volunteers”The ministry plan is developed directly from the giftedness and interests of membersA key: “the priesthood of all believers”
57A healthy church: 8 characteristics Passionate spiritualityChristians in the congregation are “on fire”They are gripped by devotion to Jesus … prayerful … enthusiastic … joyfulThe congregation’s focus is not on behaviours, obligations, qualifications for membership, or doctrinal correctness
58A healthy church: 8 characteristics Natural Church GrowthA healthy church: 8 characteristicsEffective structuresThe organisational structures of the church are dynamic, rather than fixed; they are continually renewed for maximum effectiveness in serviceMembers are eager for positive changeThe polar opposite: a tradition-bound organisation—which destroys motivation, discourages initiative, perpetuates inconvenience, and prevents growth√ Note: When we question the danger of being bound by traditions, we’re not talking about basic truths or historical values! We’re talking about the same problem Jesus faced with the church of His time—a failure to distinguish between the actual teachings of God and “the commandments of men”, and an intoxication with maintaining time-honoured practices and expectations simply because they’ve been in place long, long time; way beyond the point where they are effective for saving souls.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
59A healthy church: 8 characteristics Inspiring worship serviceRegardless of the style of service (traditional or contemporary, liturgical or free), the worship service is Spirit-filledPeople come to the service not out of duty or as a favour for God or the pastor, but because the experience is enjoyable, well-planned and meaningful
60A healthy church: 8 characteristics Natural Church GrowthA healthy church: 8 characteristicsWhole-life (“holistic”) small group ministryThe congregation builds an effective small-group ministry—with a “holistic,” practical focus on immediate personal concerns and service to othersThe small group becomes the natural place for practical discipleship (not for abstract study)The larger the church, the more important this critical component√ Schwarz uses the term “holistic.” “Holistic” = a balance of head, heart, hands—something to be thought about, to feel, to do.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
61A healthy church: 8 characteristics Need-oriented evangelismThe pastor knows the gifts of service in the congregation, especially evangelism (perhaps 10% of the congregation)The pastor directs the evangelists into appropriate ministries for non-ChristiansMost members actively share Christ in their daily contactsAll evangelism is directed to people’s needs—not manipulation and pressure
62A healthy church: 8 characteristics Natural Church GrowthA healthy church: 8 characteristicsLoving relationshipsThe congregation is characterized by lively, positive relationships between members, inside and outside the churchThere are frequent acts of practical love, and laughter is easy to spotWhile faith is crucial, it is not the highest value for a church—love holds this honour√ Cf EGW—100 conversions, where now there is only 1Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
63By the way—an aside for SDAs… Natural Church GrowthBy the way—an aside for SDAs…Monte Sahlin, Ministry, Nov. 2004: “What makes churches grow? What recent Adventist research reveals”“The strongest item in the cluster of church growth indicators is how well the congregation does in helping members deepen their relationship with God. This is strong evidence that spirituality is key to church growth.…“Congregations that place an emphasis on teaching spiritual disciplines are more likely to be growing churches.… >√ Whole article, B-0218.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
64By the way—an aside for SDAs… “Spirituality cannot be ignored when church leaders seek expanding congregations. Any church growth strategy that is not bathed in prayer and does not emerge with the guidance of the Holy Spirit cannot be expected to attain authentic, lasting growth.”
65A healthy church Schwarz’s description: Natural Church GrowthA healthy churchSchwarz’s description:“This is a church in which the leadership is committed heart and soul to church growth; in which nearly every Christian is using his or her gifts to edify the church; in which most members are living out the faith with power and contagious enthusiasm; in which church structures are evaluated on whether they serve the growth of the church or not;[Selected for camp display]Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
66A healthy church Schwarz’s description continued: Natural Church GrowthA healthy churchSchwarz’s description continued:“…in which worship services are a high point of the week for the majority of the congregation; in which the loving and healing power of Christian fellowship can be experienced in small groups; in which nearly all Christians, according to their gifts, help to fulfill the Great Commission; in which the love of Christ permeates almost all church activities.”Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
67A healthy church Schwarz’s description concluded: “…Is it even conceivable that such a church could stagnate or decline?”
68Natural Church GrowthThe “Quality Index”Researchers established a “Quality Index” (QI) as an evaluative tool. The median score (“average”) was set at 50.Congregations scoring a QI of >65 were always healthy and growing.Congregations that scored low in one or two characteristics, but high in all the others, were generally not healthy or growing.√ Scoring 65% or higher puts a church in the top 15% of churches. Scoring 35 or less puts a church in the lowest 35% of churches.√ All churches that reach 65 or more in all categories are growing (only two exceptions have been observed)Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
69Natural Church Growth√ Note the updated report process uses a different style of graph with vertical columns; however, the effect is the same.√ Remember that 50 is the median (average) score for churches across the board. The figures are not percentages, but simply an index for seeing to what extent a church is above or below the median compared with churches in the rest of the country. Going farther: This comparison is not the goal; it is just a way of getting to the goal. The goal is to identify how we can realise a church that is healthy and growing, based on understanding our areas of strength and deficiency.√ Note that the newer, web-based way of giving looks different from the above—but the above shows the kind of results given.√ Note that if there are more than 15 index points between the highest and lowest categories, this indicates the likelihood of a systemic issue, some perennial tension that must be investigated and addressed.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
70Natural Church GrowthThe “Quality Index”Realising all 8 characteristics at a high level is not a “quick-fix” method, but “a difficult path” that can, nevertheless, be taken successfullyRemember: “God gives the growth”The “all by itself” principle is given by Christ—and it really worksRocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
71The “Minimum Factor”An approach… We cannot do everything at once—but we can choose one thing to do first, and then do it!Schwarz recommends choosing the “minimum factor”
72The “Minimum Factor”The “minimum factor” is that characteristic, identified by valid research, that is lowest on the church’s Quality Index.This is the aspect that appears to have the greatest need—combined with significant opportunity and potential for impact on the ministries of the congregation as a whole.
73Natural Church GrowthThe “Minimum Factor”How do we find out how a church is presently doing? How do we discover “the minimum factor,” so we can go forward with the challenge?A tested and proven questionnaire: for completion by up to 30 active church members and the pastor.√ If a church has fewer than 30 attendees, then all attendees should complete the survey. If a church has more than 30 attendees, then up to 30 should be selected to complete the survey. Preferably, these are people actively involved in some kind of ministry group—e.g. elders, small group leaders or participants, Sabbath School leaders or teachers; any member active in a ministry as part of a team with others in the congregation.√ The pastor fills out the same questionnaire as the members. But in addition, the pastor completes an additional form that asks for some statistical information about the congregation. This includes attendance for the past 5 years (if not attendance figures kept, will have to consult with others and give it a best possible estimate). With the needed statistics in hand, the pastor’s additional form takes about 10 minutes to complete.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
74The “Minimum Factor”The questionnaire consists of 91 straightforward statements for your graded responseE.g. “I often tell other Christians when I have experienced something from God”Data from the church is then compared with a database of millions of responses worldwide
75The “Minimum Factor”From this data, a “church profile” is created and given to the congregationThe profile shows the Quality Index for each of the 8 characteristicsIt also identifies the “minimum factor”—the recommended area for focus initially
76Natural Church GrowthThe “Minimum Factor”The ideal dynamic is to use current strengths to improve the weaker pointsThis is not a focus on weakness, but a focus on how a strength can lift up a weaknessE.g. A church strong in “gift-oriented ministry” might use people with particular gifts to strengthen an area like small group ministry or evangelism√ One of the criticisms of NCD is that it “focuses on weaknesses”. This represents a failure to rightly appreciate what NCD is about. Four points (1) We must bravely identify our weak points—if we don’t, we’ll get nowhere. (2) The real focus is not on weaknesses per se, but on how our strengths can be brought to bear to lift up our weaknesses. (3) The research demonstrates that a church that is healthy and growing always has reasonable strength in all 8 characteristics; if one is considerably down, this will hold back the church’s progress. (4) The research also demonstrates that when a strength is applied to help lift up an area of weakness, all of the other 7 areas come up also.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
78Natural Church GrowthThe “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 areas as wellFinding: The QI for the eight characteristics can change over time, so follow-up surveys are important√ We recommend doing a follow-up survey at least once a year.Rocky Mtn Conf of SDA / eg
79Resources…The ABC’s of Natural Church Development, by Christian A. Schwarz. Key concepts in an easy reading style. A 32-page booklet.Implementation Guide to Natural Church Development. 235 pages.Natural Church Development Survey. After processing, the church receives a report with a “Church Profile” and the identity of the “minimum factor”.CD: Releasing Your Church’s Potential.