Presentation on theme: "Natural Church Development An introduction to a natural way to realise growth in your church Drawn from Christian A. Schwarz, Natural Church Development."— Presentation transcript:
Natural Church Development An introduction to a natural way to realise growth 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
The 5 Basic Components of Natural Church Development
1. The 8 Quality Characteristics 1. Empowering leadership 2. Gift-oriented ministry 3. Passionate spirituality 4. Effective structures 5. Inspiring worship service 6. Whole-life small group ministry 7. Need-oriented evangelism 8. Loving relationships 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
6 Growth Forces
Interdependence Individual units are connected to each other in a larger system. Changes in one will affect others in the church and community.
Long Term Effects
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 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
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.
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 areas as well Question: Which of the eight characteristics do you think are the most elemental, the most critical?
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 1. Empowering leadership 2. Gift-based ministry 3. Passionate spirituality 4. Effective structures 5. Inspiring worship service 6. Whole-life small group ministry 7. Need-oriented evangelism 8. Loving relationships 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!
51 Question: What do you make of this picture?
52 Question: Would this be a little better?
Two 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?
The question of goals Question: Are numerical goals critical for church growth? 7 out of 10 fast-growing churches do not have numerical growth goals Quality goals are more important These goals work best when they are precise, challenging, time-bound, measurable & verifiable
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 1. Empowering leadership Leaders in the congregation are empowered to minister The pastor leads primarily by relationships, discipleship & delegation Leadership is not by personal authority or the power of theological training
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 2. Gift-based ministry Ministry is based on the individual gifts and calling in the congregation The 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 members A key: “the priesthood of all believers”
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 3. Passionate spirituality Christians in the congregation are “on fire” They are gripped by devotion to Jesus … prayerful … enthusiastic … joyful The congregation’s focus is not on behaviours, obligations, qualifications for membership, or doctrinal correctness
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 4. Effective structures The organisational structures of the church are dynamic, rather than fixed; they are continually renewed for maximum effectiveness in service Members are eager for positive change The polar opposite: a tradition-bound organisation—which destroys motivation, discourages initiative, perpetuates inconvenience, and prevents growth
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 5. Inspiring worship service Regardless of the style of service (traditional or contemporary, liturgical or free), the worship service is Spirit-filled People 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
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 6. Whole-life (“holistic”) small group ministry The congregation builds an effective small- group ministry—with a “holistic,” practical focus on immediate personal concerns and service to others The small group becomes the natural place for practical discipleship (not for abstract study) The larger the church, the more important this critical component
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 7. Need-oriented evangelism The 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-Christians Most members actively share Christ in their daily contacts All evangelism is directed to people’s needs—not manipulation and pressure
A healthy church: 8 characteristics 8. Loving relationships The congregation is characterized by lively, positive relationships between members, inside and outside the church There are frequent acts of practical love, and laughter is easy to spot While faith is crucial, it is not the highest value for a church—love holds this honour
By 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.… >
By 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.”
A healthy church Schwarz’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;
A healthy church Schwarz’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.”
A healthy church Schwarz’s description concluded: “…Is it even conceivable that such a church could stagnate or decline?”
68 The “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.
70 The “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 successfully Remember: “God gives the growth” The “all by itself” principle is given by Christ—and it really works
71 The “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”
72 The “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.
73 The “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.
74 The “Minimum Factor” The questionnaire consists of 91 straightforward statements for your graded response E.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
75 The “Minimum Factor” From this data, a “church profile” is created and given to the congregation The profile shows the Quality Index for each of the 8 characteristics It also identifies the “minimum factor”—the recommended area for focus initially
76 The “Minimum Factor” The ideal dynamic is to use current strengths to improve the weaker points This is not a focus on weakness, but a focus on how a strength can lift up a weakness E.g. A church strong in “gift-oriented ministry” might use people with particular gifts to strengthen an area like small group ministry or evangelism
78 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 areas as well Finding: The QI for the eight characteristics can change over time, so follow-up surveys are important
79 Resources… 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.