What is NCD and how does it affect me? This is the question I asked when I first heard about NCD – which by the way stands for Natural Church Development. When I was asked a few years ago to help Justin Lawman with NCD, I had no idea what I was saying yes to. Now, after a crash course I fully endorse NCD and the wonderful benefits that come from taking part in the process. My first reaction was . . . Ohh . . . not another survey; does anyone actually look at these or do anything with them? For those of you who know about NCD, I hear you say “I’ve done NCD”. Yes you may have completed a survey which is just one of the tools, but have you participated in the process that follows.
Compare the process to a visit to your doctor. He tells you your cholesterol is high, you need to lose weight and your blood pressure is too high. If you don’t do something about it, you will have a stroke which could mean paralysis to half the muscles in your body. What will you do? The information the doctor gives you clearly points out what you need to do, but you can still choose not to take any action. The NCD Survey is a report which tells you the problem areas, but you can still choose to do nothing. What is measured in the survey is the actual life of the people in the pews, not how well they have been entertained. The quality of the church is the quality of its people – and nothing more.
There must be a desire or longing in your heart to experience more of what God can do for you and your church; if you do not have that desire, then the process with not work for you. To argue against NCD is like saying you are against the very principles of Christian living. Let’s just take Loving Relationships as an example, if you are against this then you are probably in favour of hatred in your church. Or if you are against Passionate Spirituality, you are probably interest in boring spirituality.
NCD is not about growing your church. First and foremost it is about QUALITY. Just like planting a seed, you lovingly give it good soil and an ideal location to put down strong healthy roots. We then feed it and water it and by meeting all its needs it will grow into a healthy plant. The fruit that the plant produces is the quantity – a natural consequence of QUALITY. The growth in quality releases an almost magnetic attraction which enables the experience of Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow.” (NLT)
As part of the NCD team, I want to encourage you to participate as a member who wants to see themselves and their church grow in QUALITY. When you are asked to participate in the survey, answer the questions honestly and with this goal in mind. Then as you work together to improve those areas that are unhealthy, there will be visible repercussions throughout the whole church body – Qualitive growth is contagious – it multiplies by itself.
(Text in italics are the ideas and concepts of NCD Australia and are adapted from the book Colour Your World with Natural Church Development by Christian A Schwarz 2007.)
Gillian Knight, Administrator - Natural Church Development