“This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A farmer scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know why. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)
Thinking growth? Naturally Partnering with God to Stimulate Healthy Growth.
The local church is a living organism which God wants to grow. It shares similarities with other organisms God has created and sustains. Its potential for growth lies in its HEALTH, not its size.
NCD has demonstrated decisively through comprehensive international research that healthy growing churches are more successful in RELEASING THE POTENTIAL for healthy growth because they apply these natural principles and treat the church more as a living organism to be grown rather than an organization to be built.
In Mark 4, Jesus gives a picture of the partnership God expects to have with His people in growing the Kingdom. Jesus points to Kingdom growth as A COOPERATIVE EFFORT:
- The sower creates an environment which maximizes the potential for new life and growth by consistently removing the obstacles to healthy growth
- God alone brings that life and growth (which appears to happen “all by itself” to the farmer)
- The role of God’s people, and their leaders in particular, is similar to that of the farmer. They cannot give life and produce growth. Only God can do that. All they can do is maximized the potential for growth.
Eight Quality Characteristics for Healthy Growth
This is done by a continual process of identifying the barriers which impede growth within the life of the church and removing them. In this way the potential for ‘all by itself’ growth is constantly maximized. The eight quality characteristics that are critical components of the life of healthy, growing churches are:
- Empowering Leadership
- Gift-based Ministry
- Passionate Spirituality
- Effective (Functional) Structures
- Inspiring Worship Service
- Holistic Small Groups
- Need-oriented Evangelism
- Loving Relationships