Natural Church Development (NCD)
St Paul's Samford has, within the past two years, been engaged with the NCD, or Natural Church Development, process.
What exactly is Natural Church Development?
NCD is a research-based process for improving the health and growth of local churches. The foundation of NCD is its social-scientific research into the growth and health of churches - the largest, international, multi-denominational, scientific study of the health of the Christian church ever undertaken. The original research has been continued as churches take the survey and participate in the NCD cycle. About 66,000 churches around the world are now in the research database. The key NCD indicators for church health and growth potential come with the solid foundation of a huge scientific study.
What did the NCD research find?
There are significant differences between growing and declining churches in 8 key areas. These have been identified by the research as being universal characteristics of healthy, growing churches. These quality characteristics are used as the template for the NCD survey and improvement cycle. These characteristics need to be present in proper balance and certain strength for a church to be positioned for growth.
What is the theology behind Natural Church Development? Is this some evangelical program from America? Will it fit with our Anglican traditions?
NCD comes from an Institute in Germany. It is used in churches of all traditions, including Anglicans, around the world, and in each church or denomination, the leaders and people adapt NCD to their particular situation and context. NCD is not a program that is cloned around the world. It is the application of universal principles of healthy church life and growth to particular churches.
As you would expect from a research method that looked for universal principles of church health around the world's Christian churches, Natural Church Development is based on classic mainstream Christianity, which reflects our Anglican heritage and tradition. It has a distinctly Trinitarian theological paradigm, embracing the three aspects of experiencing the Triune God: in Creation; through the Word (Gospel); and by the Holy Spirit. NCD is used with good results by liberal, evangelical and charismatic churches, including Anglican parishes of all traditions in Australia and around the communion. NCD research has confirmed that the healthy growth of the church is found towards the centre of Christianity, and that to become healthier as churches we need to avoid the extreme tendencies of our particular tradition, whether this is syncretism, fundamentalism, or subjectivism respectively.
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These downloads have been provided through NCD Australia and have been reproduced with permission.