by Rev. Luke Lindon
At Sylvania United Church of Christ, we’re trying a new thing.
We are a medium-sized congregation full of science-y types. We love our spirituality and our community. We’re always looking to improve, but we often get stuck on what would be the best place to start.
Should we update our sanctuary? How would a 95” screen help us be more worshipful? Maybe we should give the basement a fresh coat of paint? The last time we painted it, Paula Abdul was dancing with an animated cat.
Speaking of cats… should we start a small group for people who
love cats? Wait… how would any of this help our community? How would any of this help advance the Beloved Community?
Instead of wandering our way through these questions, we’ve decided to try the Natural Church Development (NCD) process. It’s a data-driven way to live into our future. This tool measures eight Quality Characteristics of Healthy Churches. We’ll take a survey, get the results, celebrate our highs and then work on our lowest characteristic. Imagine a barrel with eight staves, each representing the Eight Quality Characteristics. The staves in the barrel represent the score of the Eight Quality Characteristics. With this analogy, you can only fill the barrel to the level of the lowest stave. So to increase the capacity of the barrel, we must increase the height of the lowest stave. NCD helps us identify our lowest stave and figure out how best to address it. We should never guess at the knowable. Churches have to grapple with many mysterious things, but we shouldn’t have to guess at what our strengths and weaknesses are.
NCD is our new thing! It is a data-driven way of visioning our future and working toward it. God is still speaking. This is our way of listening.
To read more about NCD, read Luke’s blog.
To see more resources on Natural Church Development and other resources on ChurchGrowth and Engagement, peruse our Holy Experiments Pinterest page.
Sylvania United Church of Christ
Nurture spirituality. Empower life.