Three reasons to take the Natural Church Development survey

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 dashboard 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 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 on raising the temperature of evangelism throughout every level of the church helps shape the culture and raises the effectiveness of the church.

This month, we have a special promotion for any churches registering for the Natural Church Development survey! Natural Church Development surveys usually cost $400, but if you sign-up between now and the end of May, you will only pay $300. Additionally, if this is your church’s first Natural Church Development survey, the investment is only $250. You need only to sign-up now, but you can schedule the NCD for later in the year.

First Baptist Glenarden kickstarts Turkey-Syria Crisis Response giving

First Baptist Church of Glenarden (Maryland) has provided a $100,000 lead gift to Converge’s Turkey-Syria Crisis Response, according to Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr., who serves as Converge president and lead pastor of First Baptist Glenarden. The fund provides support to those whose lives have been turned upside down by the catastrophic earthquake that, as of February 15, has claimed the lives of more than 41,000 people. 

“This is one of the most devastating natural catastrophes of our lifetime,” Jenkins said. “Imagine how you would feel if you lost your entire family in one instant. That’s what happened to thousands of people. Forty-one thousand losses of life that we know of right now; that’s like losing an entire town.

“As the church, we are the arms and legs of the body,” Jenkins continued. “And we’re called to serve and help — not just in the moment of the crisis, but we will look at planting churches there that will help in the long term.”

Converge will work at three levels to assist the effort of our Turkish brothers and sisters. We will partner with Ilk Umut (First Hope) during the crisis response, which will include providing hot food, showers, laundry facilities, medical help and more. 

The next stage is partnering with the Foundation of Protestant Churches in Turkey to strengthen the churches directly affected by the earthquake and share the gospel in word and deed. A crisis is a great time for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s hearts and minds. 

We also have a direct connection to a local church in Southeast Turkey through Converge workers. This church in a city of more than 1.5 million people will be a part of our strategy to start and strengthen churches in Turkey and Syria through these gifts.

Jenkins encouraged other churches to participate in the Turkey-Syria Crisis Response. By doing so, they will combine efforts to make a much more significant physical and spiritual impact than they could on their own. 

“This is how we show the love of God,” he said. “And we want to charge churches to be sowers. God will bring back a harvest.

“Psalm 133 says, ‘Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in humanity.’ We can work and have a much greater impact if we do it collectively. So, we are asking other churches to join our efforts to help during this catastrophe.”

This article was authored by Mickey Seward, Converge’s Director of Communications and Point editor.

Mickey has served in ministry positions as director of communications at Mobberly Baptist Church, a multisite church based in East Texas, and as national director of communications for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Prior to holding those positions, he spent 15 years as a college sports information director.