Natural Church
Development
An Introduction and Update
God and Church Growth

What’s going on in this
picture?

Everything we need to see
the church grow has been
provided by God

The problem is that we do
not make use of it!

Principles vs. models
The Eight Quality Characteristics of
Growing Churches
Quality Characteristic #1:
Empowering Leadership

Not “empowered,” but
“empowering”

Growing churches have
leaders who raise up
leaders and give
leadership away

Equip, support, motivate,
and mentor
Quality Characteristic #2:
Gift-Based Ministry

Growing churches help
members identify their gifts
and integrate them into
ministries

“The place God calls you to is
the place where your deep
gladness and the world’s deep
hunger meet.”


Frederick Buechner
NCD research: no greater joy
than living according to our
spiritual gifts
Quality Characteristic #3:
Passionate Spirituality

There are divergent styles
of spirituality

The important thing is not
the way spirituality is
expressed, but that faith
is really lived out with
commitment, fire, and
enthusiasm

What good is the best
engine if the gas tank is
empty and when there is
no energy?
Quality Characteristic #4:
Effective Structures

Growing churches have forms
and structures that fulfill their
purpose well

Structures are always a mean
to an end

This characteristic gets the
most resistance

“Traditionalism means church
forms have to stay the same
way I have become used to
them.”
Quality Characteristic #5:
Inspiring Worship Service

The key is not the style (or
model) of worship

The key is the principle of
worship: Is worship an inspiring
experience for those who
attend it?

This characteristic clearly
separates growing from nongrowing churches

“People who attend inspiring
worship services unanimously
declare that the church service is
‘fun.’”
Quality Characteristic #6:
Holistic Small Groups

Intimate community,
practical help, and
intensive spiritual
interaction

“Christian small groups
are not a nice, yet
disposable hobby. No, it is
the very essence of the
true life of Jesus Christ
that is worked out in
small groups.”
Quality Characteristic #7:
Need-Oriented Evangelism

Growing churches share
the gospel in a way that
meets the questions and
needs of non-Christians

See John 1:35-51
Quality Characteristic #8:
Loving Relationships

How much time do
members spend together
beyond church-sponsored
events?

How much laughter is
there in the church?

“Unfeigned, practical love
endows a church with a
much greater magnetic
power than all the
marketing efforts of this
world.”
The All-by-Itself Principle

God has given the church everything it needs to grow

Mark 4:26-29

Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though
someone scatters seed on the ground, then sleeps and wakes night and
day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. The
earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the
full head of grain. Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut
the grain because it’s harvesttime.”

Every church has the nouns

Growth comes through the adjectives
Key Concern: The Quality of Churches

Quality is the root

Quantity is the fruit

What is our weakest area?
Quality Characteristic Current Profile
2013
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
52
47
44
34
50
52
44
36
35

50 = Average

65 = High

35 = Low
Empowering Leadership Current Profile
2013
70
63
60
How well do the leaders delegate
and share ministry?

Is our pastor(s) free to make
decisions and lead the church?

Is this a team effort or a oneperson show?

Are we just maintaining current
ministry or are there definable
goals?
50
50
40

42
35
30
20
10
0
Leaders
empower
others
Leadership fit Delegation
and sharing
of ministry
Compelling
vision
Gift-Based Ministry Current Profile
2013
70
60
50

Do we match people’s gifts to the
task(s) they perform at the church?

Do people feel joy in their service
or is it an obligation?

Does the church leadership support
people in their ministry?

Are people trained for their
task(s)?
61
52
50
44
40
30
20
10
0
Integrating Significance of Support for
gifts into
ministry
ministry
ministry
Equipping for
ministry
Passionate Spirituality Current Profile
2013
70
60

What role does my relationship
with Christ have in my daily life?

Not just a passion for the local
church, but for Christ’s church.

How important is the Bible to
the way people live their lives?

How can we move religion from
being a private matter to a topic
that we discuss with other
believers?
50
40
40
39
39
30
23
20
10
0
Experiencing
God
Passion for
Church
Passion for
devotions
Spiritual interconnectedness
Effective Structures Current Profile
2013
70
60
53
52
50
42
40

How do we determine and
communicate corporate goals?

What would an organizational
chart of our church look like?

How does the church encourage
and allow creative thinking?

How are leaders appointed and
trained? Who do they report to?
35
30
20
10
0
Effective
planning
Organizational Innovation and
strutures and managing change
systems
Structure for
effective
leadership
Inspiring Worship Current Profile
2013
70
60
56
51
50
40
39

Do people leave worship feeling
better than when they arrived?

Do people want to share the
worship service with their
friends?

Why do people come to your
worship service?

Does the sermon address reallife needs of the congregation?
41
30
20
10
0
Personal
Visitor friendly Anticipation for
transformation
church
worship
in worship
Relevance of
message
Holistic Small Groups Current Profile
2013
70
60
50
59
51

What does group life look
like when “God shows up”?

Are the groups growing? How
fast?

How effective have your
groups been in incorporating
new people?

What makes your small
groups a safe place for
learning and sharing?
62
49
40
30
20
10
0
Developing
spirituallyoriented
community
Multiplication of
disciples,
leaders, and
groups
Integrating
newcomers
Group relevance
Need-Oriented Evangelism Current Profile
2013
70
60
50
40
41
How do you make newcomers
feel as if they belong?

How intentional is the
leadership at encouraging
evangelism?

How well do the people in
your congregation do in
sharing their faith?

How do we as a church work
together to welcome
seekers?
42
37
30

25
20
10
0
Compassionate Corporate
church
evangelistic
efforts
Personal
evangelism
Seekersensitive
church
Loving Relationships Current Profile
2013
70
60
56

Do we encourage one
another?

Are joy and
acceptance present in
our church on a weekly
basis?

How interconnected
are the people in our
church?

Is conflict addressed or
ignored?
50
40
36
34
30
25
20
10
0
Affirmation and Atmosphere of
encouragement
joy and
acceptance
Deepening
relationships
Conflict
resolution
Passionate Spirituality Focus Questions
What are two ideas that will help you be more passionate,
inspired, and enthusiastic in your Bible study and devotional life?
2. What are two ideas that will help you become more comfortable
and confident in talking about your faith with others?
3. What are two ideas that will help you stretch yourself to be more
intentional and confident in showing your faith through your daily
life?
4. What are two ideas that will prompt you to graciously increase
your financial stewardship to St. Philip’s Lutheran Church?
5. What are two ideas that you will personally commit to that will
help St. Philip’s Lutheran Church actively engage the changing
neighborhood and community?
1.
Where Do We Go from Here?

Healthy Church Team

Congregational Survey

30 representative active members

Measure SPLC’s eight quality characteristics

Focus Groups

Set SMART Goals based on SPLC’s Minimum Factor

Collaborate, communicate, and participate

Monitor progress toward goals

Congregational Survey in 12-15 months
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Natural Church Development