1101 North River Boulevard, Wichita, Kansas
Natural Church Development
WHAT IS NCD?
NCD stands for Natural Church Development. What is it? It is the product of several years of study of thousands of different Christian churches around the world by Christian A. Schwarz wherein he identified the causes or attributes of a healthy growing church. Schwarz’s research and study revealed 8 common quality characteristics of a healthy growing church. Those 8 characteristics are: 1) Empowering leadership; 2) Gift-oriented ministry; 3) Passionate spirituality; 4) Functional structures; 5) Inspiring worship service; 6) Holistic small groups; 7) Need-oriented evangelism; and 8) Loving relationships. The premise of NCD is that if your church works on developing and improving these 8 characteristics, a growing church will follow. All 8 characteristics must be present to achieve a healthy, growing church and none can be neglected.
Gloria Dei first embarked upon the NCD program or process in 2006. At that time, a random survey of 30 members was taken. The responses to that survey identified those characteristics as applied to Gloria Dei that were strong and those that needed improvement. The initial survey identified Passionate Spirituality as the minimum characteristic and the focus for the first NCD team at Gloria Dei. The first NCD team was led by Jerry Proffitt and the NCD team led the congregation in the NCD process. The first NCD team set out to define what Passionate Spirituality meant, gathering input from the congregation. The NCD team then set out to implement action plans that embodied Passionate Spirituality as defined by the Gloria Dei membership. One of the products of the first NCD team’s work was the development of the tag line Gloria Dei uses: “Living our Faith with Joy and Enthusiasm,” and promotion of that tag line and logo in and outside the congregation. Another product was the Prayer of the Week published for all in the congregation to pray together during the week. This NCD team also started monthly reviews of articles in The Lutheran magazine. Another fun item asked members to share their reasons “why I drive to Gloria Dei for church,” and a map of the Wichita area pegging where members of the congregation lived was developed. In general, the NCD team incorporated new opportunities for study, prayer and reflection. Some of the items implemented or addressed by this NCD team can be viewed by clicking on the “Passionate Spirituality” button on the left side of this page.
At the conclusion of the first NCD team’s work (over the course of the next 1 ½ years), another random survey conducted in the spring of 2008 of 30 different members was taken to again evaluate the 8 characteristics. This time, the Passionate Spirituality score increased by 34%. A surprising by-product was an 8% increase in the average score of all 8 characteristics combined, with several of the individual 8 characteristics also reflecting an improved score. After the second survey, the new minimum characteristic was Loving Relationships. In the fall of 2008, the Church Council authorized the formation of a new NCD team to continue with the NCD process and address the Loving Relationships characteristic. A second NCD team, chaired by Jana Abbott, was formed and work on the Loving Relationships characteristic began in late 2008.
The Loving Relationships NCD team set out to gather feedback from the congregation why they believed the survey results scored Loving Relationships at Gloria Dei as the minimum characteristic and what “Loving Relationships” meant to the congregation. Through this exercise, several common themes emerged: Reconciliation/Forgiveness, Helping/Supportive, Caring/Nurturing, Acceptance/Belonging, Love one another as Jesus loves you, The Golden rule, Friendships, and Family/Unconditional Love. The NCD team identified programs, activities, and ministries currently in place at Gloria Dei that address these themes and developed a spreadsheet showing the categories and activities under them. A display is in the process of being prepared to share with the congregation and bring an awareness of those activities that embody these themes. The two most predominant themes from the congregation’s responses were Caring/Nurturing and Acceptance/Belonging and the NCD team decided to focus its implementation of action plans on these two attributes of Loving Relationships. The NCD team next identified Bible passages and scriptures that spoke to Caring/Nurturing and Acceptance/Belonging. At present, the Loving Relationships NCD is working on identifying and implementing action plans for these two main attributes. You will see those ideas implemented in the coming months. You can follow the progress of the Loving Relationships NCD team by clicking on the “Loving Relationships” button on the left side of this page.
The Loving Relationships NCD team is interested in your ideas and thoughts for improving Loving Relationships (particularly as it pertains to our focus on the attributes: Caring/Nurturing and Acceptance/Belonging) and bringing greater awareness to the congregation of this quality characteristic. Please contact a member of the Loving Relationships NCD team if you have questions and/or comments.
The members of the Loving Relationships NCD Team are:
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