May is “Church Health Month” around here at Converge MidAmerica. It is a season in our calendar where we encourage churches to take a close look at both the quality and the quantity of their church’s ministry through taking the Natural Church Development Survey. Here are a few quick reasons for you and your church to embrace this church health process.
1) It is based on the most comprehensive church health research ever done.
Over 90,000 churches have completed NCD surveys around the world. Over 47,000 churches have completed NCD surveys in the USA. Dave Wetzler the USA Director of Natural Church Develop reports that when churches have completed 3 surveys and two full cycles of addressing the weak system they have discovered through the process that they see 85% of them improving in quality and quantity both globally and here in the USA.
They have also discovered that churches that plant daughter churches – they have an overall average score of 55 or higher. When a church has a score at 50 (average) or less they are still very inwardly focused on their church, their health, and their ministry programs. Once a church reaches a healthy average of 55 they become more outwardly focused in reaching other segments of the community or multiplying through church planting and mission efforts. Conversion growth increases and church planting increases.
Every time a church takes an NCD Survey it adds to the research and moves us from guessing to assessing.
2) It separates fact from feelings.
So many decisions are based on feelings rather than facts. The NCD survey takes all those feelings that are running through the minds and hearts of your people and quantifies them.
Church Health is measured through hard data as well as soft data. The hard data is the key statistics you track as a church: attendance, offerings, new visitors, members, baptisms, small groups, and leaders. So every church has its own dash board of stats that they are looking at frequently.
The soft data is the quality side of your services and ministries. It is people’s attitudes, feelings and perspectives towards the programs, process and the personnel of the church.
People’s real attitudes, feelings and perspectives are hard to determine at times especially in a church. So how do you get below the surface of what people are thinking and expecting in your community of faith?
The NCD Survey does this in a very positive and detailed way. It gives you an overall morale number for your church and then drills down in revealing what your people feel are the strengths and weaknesses of your church at this time.
3) It provides a focused pathway to strengthen your church.
Once the feelings and perspectives of your people have been quantified, now the church can with laser like precision focus in on the systems within the church that are weak and need some attention.
All too often church leaders are guessing rather than assessing. They are going on a hunch rather than accurate data. This will always lead to a backlash against leadership initiatives and possibly leadership itself.
When you listen to your people’s feedback you honor them and create a deeper level of ownership in the ministry of the church.
Focusing on the feedback of your key leaders helps you develop an annual ministry plan. A plan with clear goals, deadlines and delegated assignments to improve the area your people identified as needing strengthening.
A little focus can make a lasting impact. For example: Developing a 12 month ministry plan that focuses raising the temperature of evangelism throughout every level of the church helps shape the culture and raises the effectiveness of the church.