Developing a Healthy Church

Natural Church Development is a way of measuring the health or quality of a church. By using a carefully prepared questionnaire with 20 to 30 members of a church, the survey will determine the health of your church in eight critical areas.

These Quality Characteristics are universally used in building healthy churches!

  • Empowering Leadership
  • Gift-based Ministry
  • Passionate Spirituality
  • Effective Structures
  • Inspiring Worship Services
  • Holistic Small Groups
  • Need-oriented Evangelism
  • Loving Relationships

The key in each of these Quality Characteristics is the adjective, which can be considered to embody all of the six Growth Force Principles (see below) as they apply to that characteristic. For example, Empowering Leadership is leadership that connects, reproduces, harnesses, sustains, cooperates and evaluates.

Natural Church Development has been used by over 40,000 church world wide to help church become healthier.

No Quality Characteristic Can Be Missing. Three things can be said with a high degree of certainty:

  1. These are universally valid qualities
  2. They can be transferred to our own situation
  3. Each of these has a positive relationship with both the quality and the quantitative growth of the church

No one single factor leads to growth in churches; it is the interplay of the eight elements as they relate to the Growth Force Principles.

The Minimum Factor

Imagine a barrel with eight staves, each representing the Eight Quality Characteristics. The staves in the barrel represent the score of the Eight Quality Characteristics. With this analogy, you can only fill the barrel to the level of the lowest stave. So to increase the capacity of the barrel, we must increase the height of the lowest stave.

Focusing on the Minimum Factor does not mean that we don’t pay attention to the other seven areas. As stated before, all eight characteristics are vitally important to healthy growing churches. Focusing on the Minimum Factor helps us set timely priorities. Since all eight areas can’t be worked on with the same amount of energy and concentration, we need to find areas which will yield the greatest long-range return on our investments. Remember, Minimum Factors can change quickly—especially when there is a conscious attempt to improve on this one area.

The “All-by-Itself-Principle”

The secret of growing churches does not consist in pushing or pulling the church in human strength and efforts—but in releasing and developing the potential God himself uses to build his church. Then growth occurs all by itself!

“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 grain—first the stalk, then the head, and then full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” – Mark 4:26-29

The church is designed by God to grow, so growth happens automatically if we remove the obstacles that prevent growth. Growing churches use this growth principle.

NCD Process

We have developed a change process which will help you address your Minimum Factor. The NCD Process will assist you in developing relevant goals and a plan to see the health of your church increase.

  1. Prepare – Prepare your church to engage in the total NCD Process. Getting leadership buy-in, mobilizing intercessors and choosing a Church Health Team are all a part of this step.
  2. Diagnose – Diagnose the health of your church. This step begins with taking the survey followed by an in-depth analysis of your Minimum Factor. It concludes with identifying 3-5 key issues to address.
  3. Plan – Plan to address your Minimum Factor. In this step the Church Health Team will develop a strategic plan to address your 3-5 key issues identified in Step 2.
  4. Implement – Implement the strategic plan developed in Step 3. Staying focused on carrying out the plan and overcoming obstacles along the way will be the task of the Church Health Team.
  5. Evaluate – Evaluate the process you used and the results of your effort. Use the Growth Force Principles to determine increased health in your Minimum Factor then plan to re-take the survey.

You may contact Howard Fuller at Mid-South Baptist for more details about this incredible tool to help your church become healthier and stronger.

There is a minimal financial charge that goes to NCD for the use of their software to process the churches eight characteristic profile.