NNSW Conference ‘Largest Improvement in the World’—Really?

NNSW Conference’s Natural Church Development (NCD) Coordinator, Gillian Knight, rarely opens an email that she needs to read two or three times to be sure she’s reading it correctly, but it happened recently.

The news that she received was amazing, but it created a question in her mind—when should we openly report and celebrate God’s blessings, versus just humbly continuing to do God’s work in God’s way? That can be a tough decision for a humble Christian to make. At the risk of being misunderstood, the NNSW Conference office team would like to share this amazing news below as we feel that members across the conference will be blessed by hearing it too—after all, you made it happen!

The email that Gillian received was from Adam Johnstone, the Director of Natural Church Development (NCD) Australia and Co-Director of NCD International. By studying our Conference’s annual NCD survey results, Adam has been observing the health of the Adventist churches in NNSW for many years. The NCD surveys, completed by many members across the conference, give a powerful insight into the general health of our churches by assessing the following criteria:

• Empowering Leadership

• Gift-based Ministry
• Passionate Spirituality
• Effective Structures

• Inspiring Worship Services

• Holistic Small Groups
• Need-oriented Evangelism

• Loving Relationships

OK, so what’s the good news?

Well, the churches in NNSW Conference have made some incredible progress in the last five years. We’ll let Adam Johnstone explain it himself, “The data shows that between 2013 and 2018 there was an unquestionable level of healthy cultural change” across NNSW conference. “Seven points overall progress, from 46 to 53 points, in five years, is the largest collective improvement we’ve come across in an Adventist Conference anywhere in the world.”

But wait there’s more!

“Furthermore, it is the largest collective improvement I’ve personally come across in any region of any movement around the world.”

Did you catch that? It is the largest collective improvement in the health of churches that Adam has seen in any denomination around the world!


Adam continued, “The NNSW NCD strategy is the most consistent and deliberate one I have encountered. Plenty of local churches and Conferences think about where they would like to be in five years’ time, but few are willing to stay the course to see the kind of results emerging in NNSW.”

Adam concluded with, “If the NNSW Conference remains focused on church health development, maintains its current momentum, and continues to learn along the way, there is no reason to doubt that the same level of progress can be seen over the next five years, which would move it into very rare fruitfulness territory as a collective body of the church in the global context.”

Adam encouraged us to send this report to members with, “Please ensure there are appropriate celebrations surrounding that most fantastic reality! Be sure this progress that is almost undetectable day-by-day, or month-by-month is celebrated from the hilltops!"

NCD has been a big part of the Conference for ten years and it has taken a lot of prayer and persistence to get it where it is. So, what’s the take home message? Let’s keep moving forward on our knees as we humbly seek God’s leading and blessing on our churches and the communities we serve.

And P.S.—Congratulations!

Julian Archer - NNSW Conference Project Manager

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