What Is It?
Sometimes people ask the question, “How can we get more people to come to our church?” A far better question is “How can your church become healthier?” As your church becomes healthier, you won’t be able to keep people away. People are drawn to life.
Natural Church Development is a way of understanding church health and growth that views the church as a living organism. The focus is not on numerical growth, but on improving the health of the church, with the understanding–impressively documented by research–that when a church is sufficiently healthy, numerical growth will follow.
A major global research project involving a thousand churches in 32 countries confirmed what most of us already assumed: Healthy churches tend to be growing churches. The research identified eight Quality Characteristics essential to church health, regardless of denomination, nationality, or language.
This research is at the heart of the Natural Church Development process. A survey of 30 people at the core of your congregation measures your strengths and weaknesses. The Quality Characteristic with the lowest score is your Minimum Factor. Like the shortest stave of a barrel, this is the factor that most limits your capacity. By raising this lowest stave, you remove the greatest barrier to your church’s healthy growth.