Natural Church Development - Parish survey: 2012

Natural Church Development (NCD) is a process for congregational assessment.It was used by Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Ohio from 2006 to 2011. Natural Church Development (NCD) seeks to release potential that God has already implanted in our lives. NCD didentifies principles that are applicable regardless of culture or spiritual style.

St. Paul's participated in the NCD process in 2011 and 2012. At that point the vestry felt they had gleaned all they wanted from the program. St. Paul's has used similar resources in recent years.

Christian A. Schwarz, the founder of NCD, began by surveying 1000 congregations of different denominations and worship styles and identified eight quality characteristics of healthy, growing congregations. The NCD program has worked with over 50,000 congregations--and the eight measures of quality remain the same. The eight quality characteristics are:

• Empowering leadership
• Gift-oriented ministry
• Effective structures
• Inspiring worship
• Passionate spirituality
• Loving relationships
• Need-based evangelism
• Holistic small groups

These qualities are measured by a survey iwhich helps the vestry and the congregation as we seek to respond to the needs of our the people who worship here and the community. St. Paul's completed the first parish survey in June of 2012.

The survey results, will enable the congregation to use its own creativity, its own identity, and its own energy to address its minimum factor in the way that works best for it. NCD isn't "another thing to do"--it helps each congregation find a better way to do what God is dreaming for it to do.

NCD Principles

• NCD focuses on increasing the quality of a church rather than on numerical growth goals. This emphasis on church health has proven to be the key to ongoing growth and multiplication.

• The center of NCD is the all-by-itself principle that can be observed in healthy churches all around the globe. All NCD principles are answers to the question “How can this God-given growth potential be released?”

• On all levels of church life, NCD encourages creativity, authenticity, and diversity. Rather than selling a specific church model, NCD helps Christians and churches to discover and develop their individuality.

• NCD assists believers in rediscovering central Biblical concepts and relating them to their everyday lives. A spirituality grounded in Scripture is the foundation for health and growth in every congregation.

A committee ireviewed our NCD Insights report and shared the results with the vestry. A summary is in our newsletter.

The NCD web site is here