Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Natural Church Development


Christian A. Schwartz is the head of the Institute for Natural Church Development in Germany. Schwartz did an extensive research in surveying more than 1,000 churches in 32 countries on six continents to discuss what are the principles for church growth. He has analysed his findings and now helps churches to grow by his Natural Church Development curriculum.



Church growth is organic and occurs by itself if the correct conditions are present, much like a seed will germinate into a plant if the soil condition is good.


This in summary are the various components of Natural Church Development.


The eight qualities are the principles behind church growth. Schwarz claims that they are universal principles and are able to prove these by the churches that are adopting Natural Church Development.

source: NCD Media, Emmelsbull, Germany


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9 Comments:

Blogger sp lim said...

Inspiring worship - Are your worship service an inspiring experience for the members?

Can't be more anthropocentric than that can you?

Need-oriented evangelism - Are the evangelistic activities related to the needs of those you are trying to win?

Whatever happened to the Gospel?

Maybe it's not fair for me to criticize without reading everything they say. But somehow correct me if I'm wrong all these church growth principles are based on the premise that if there is tremendous growth in a church, it must be doing all the right things and therefore it is a model that we should follow.

Instead of doing extensive research and surveys, wouldn't it be more profitable for us to listen to what God has to say to us from His word about what is expected from His redeemed community?

I think some people have and I believe their models though may not be perfect and lead to explosive growth but at least more biblical.

Try Redeemer's 7 core values or Mark Dever's 9 marks

http://www.redeemer.com/about_us/vision_and_values/core_values.html

http://www.9marks.org/CC_Content_Page/0,,PTID314526|CHID616736|CIID,00.html

Closer to home, CDPC also has a model which we call 'Redeemed for a Purpose' which involves;
C - Cultivating the Soul
D - Deepening Community
P - Permeating Society
C - Crossing Frontiers

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can't be more anthropocentric than that can you?"

- try telling that to the psalmists...

"Need-oriented evangelism"

- i see no problems with that. just ask jesus why he just loves to tease folks with his 'miracles'? why do people reduce gospel, with some four-step program to bloody 'go to heaven?'

what about feeding the poor, clothing the naked etc? isn't that 'need-oriented evangelism'?

11:54 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi sp lim,

Schwartz takes pain to point out that Natural Church Development is not part of the Church Growth movement, and that he is proposing principles, not models or programs.

These 8 principles or qualities are derived from survey of more than a 1000 churches - not all mega churches. Most are small churches, some are 'doing well' and some are 'not doing well.'

I believe Redeemer's 7 core values, Dever's 9 marks and CDPC mission shares the principles mentioned.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi anon,

these are good observations. Thank you.

2:50 AM  
Blogger sp lim said...

When I first became a Christian, I had someone who did 'follow up' with me. We were doing some materials from the Navigators if I'm not mistaken. But I remember clearly before the start of each session, he would ask me to read a chapter on Psalms. Meditate on it and try to list out all the attributes or characteristics of God that I can find in that chapter/passage.

No doubt some of the Psalms speaks about the Psalmist's experience, but I believe the Psalms are about God and not man. Perhaps our dear Reb can throw some light on this.

Well I do concede that feeding the poor, clothing the naked may be a part of evangelism but if the gospel is not proclaimed then evangelism has not taken place. Meeting the needs of people is part and parcel of Christian discipleship but it cannot substitute for the proclamation of the gospel.

Alex, thanks for pointing out to me that NCD is not GCM. I did qualified my comment that it was not fair for me to criticize by not taking the time to read about all they have to say. I had merely zoomed in on those 2 points which I feel is something which we should be careful of.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

splim,

"No doubt some of the Psalms speaks about the Psalmist's experience, but I believe the Psalms are about God and not man."

- ah, so you admit that the psalms are anthropocentric. what makes you think that modern psalms are not about God? how about a 3rd category ala Buber's "I" and "Thou" they are about God and Man whichever plays the role of I and Thou?

"Well I do concede that feeding the poor, clothing the naked may be a part of evangelism but if the gospel is not proclaimed then evangelism has not taken place."

- so you agree that those are evangelism but you do not treat those acts as proclaiming the gospel? i do believe there are many layers to what we mean as the gospel as it would be too reductionist if we treat it as a confessional formula.

1:26 AM  
Blogger sp lim said...

Anon,

You are right if you think I have reduced the gospel into a confessional formula. In fact, I think I'll just reduce it to 2 verses. Not even a 4 step formula.

1 Cor 15:4-5 - "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."

I know confessional formulas are not popular in churches today. How many churches actually recite the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed in their Sunday worship? How many Presbyterians have ever heard of the Westminster Confession of Faith let alone know them, how many Baptists have ever heard of the London Baptist Confession of Faith or Anglicans, the 39 Articles. No, those are boring stuff which we Christians living in this postmodern age shouldn't be bothered about. Confessions give a sense of absoluteness that can be antithetical to our postmodern mindset.

But I make no apology for trying to be a confessing Christian.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Rev. Sivin said...

perhaps this summary might help those who have not read the thinking behind NCD --> Paradigm Shift in the Church: How Natural Church Development Can Transform Theological Thinking

I've read the books and been to the NCD seminars. They are refreshing in the light of much church growth thinking these days. I think as a complement in fact quite useful. Of course, for those of us enriched by wider theological reflection NCD can be part of a bigger picture of working things out in church thinking theologically and practically.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

dear sivin,

Thank you for your comments and your link. NCD has an important place in analysing where a church is spiritually and functionally at any point in time.

11:43 AM  

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