1. NCD is a long-term process—not a “quick fix.” If your church has been in decline for ten or twenty years, it will take more than 30-60 days to reverse that trend. However, the research shows there is hope for your church!
2. Invest significant time preparing your church to begin the NCD Process: Educate your people about the eight quality characteristics and the value of improving the health of the church.
-Cast a bold vision. Help your people dream about being a healthy, vibrant, life-changing church and instill a “want to” attitude in your leaders.
-Build a team of people who will focus on improving the health of the church because the pastor cannot do it alone.
3. Trust the wisdom of working on your “minimum factor.” The minimum factor is the quality characteristic identified as the weakest area of health in the church. Just as sports teams draft “impact players” to improve the quality of their team for the next season, your church must address the minimum factor to improve the health of the church.
4. Utilize the services of a good coach who can come alongside and help guide your church through the process. We have found that churches who work with a coach are at least twice as effective in improving the health of the church. Contact your district office or the conference office to find out the names of coaches who are available in your area.
5. Be clear about your mission: Make sure your motivation is “mission-driven,” not “survival-driven.” Jesus said in Mark 8:35 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it.” God has a mission for your church in your community and it can easily be summed up in the Great Commandment and Great Commission: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Then, go and make disciples everywhere!” (paraphrased).
Contact the Committee on Natural Church Development (NCD) for more information about Natural Church Development and how it can help your church fulfill its mission more effectively.