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What is NCD

Natural Church Development (NCD) is a paradigm – a set of principles for thinking about church growth.  NCD suggests that quality (health) precedes quantity in church growth thinking.  Size itself is no indicator of healthy growth.   A healthy church is better able to grow through reproducing disciples, ministries and itself. in fact, a healthy organism – and a church is an organism – should grow, it can’t help it, it’s just part of nature.

NCD is based on extensive international research initially in 1,000 churches in 32 countries on 5 continents.  The research uncovered principles promoting healthy growth independent of a church’s denomination, theology, ministry model, liturgical style or size.  NCD is principles-based not program based.  Over the past 15 years or so, data on church health has been extended to 70,000 churches in 70 countries on 6 continents! Click here to download a 21 page Introduction to Natural Church Development (version 4.1 revised June 2014).

NCD uses a long term strategic process for improving the health of churches.  It centres on a sophisticated diagnostic tool which provides a unique, accurate and up-to-date assessment of the health of a church in eight quality areas.

Armed with a regular “checkup” of the church’s health, leaders are equipped to:

  • refine vision, strategies and goals
  • assess the church’s commitment to essential growth values
  • focus limited resources for maximum impact on health
  • move from a program-based mentality to a principles-based approach
  • take a long term strategy for producing lasting health and growth
  • grow a church as a living organism rather than merely build a spiritual organisation

Natural Church Development was founded by Christian A. Schwarz, who now heads up the Institute for Natural Church Development International, based in Germany.  Over 3,400 Surveys have been completed in Canada, and Canada represents a leading proponent of NCD globally.