Early this year the elders renewed a process of discernment about the direction God would lead us as a congregation. Call it “planning for the future” or “strategic planning” if you will – our purpose was to identify and focus on priorities for moving ahead as a congregation – to grow our passion for and practice of ministry – to grow spiritually and numerically.
We decided to use as an initial step a process called Natural Church Development (NCD). The NCD process was chosen because it focuses on the health of a congregation rather than “church growth models”. The process holds that just as a healthy plant will flourish “naturally”, a healthy church will “naturally” produce fruit for God’s kingdom: God gives the increase; our task is to do our best to provide good “growing conditions” by removing obstacles to growth.
We’ve completed the first step of the NCD process, which is to have thirty people – selected by the elders from the pool of involved, committed church members – participate in a written survey. (No elders or staff members participated in the survey, however.) The survey participants considered eight different “quality characteristics” of healthy churches and identified stronger and weaker areas of the Northlake congregation. Interestingly, our strongest quality characteristic is “Loving Relationships”. The survey participants identified our “minimum quality characteristic” as “Inspiring Worship Services”.
NCD’s experience is that a congregation’s capacity to accept the growth which God could provide is limited by its minimum quality characteristic. So, the elders will be encouraging several focused efforts in the very near future to examine the principles and practices related to the planning and conduct of our worship services. You’ll be hearing more about this as specific initiatives get underway. The purpose of this communication is to make you aware that this is happening.
We sincerely request your personal prayers, support and consideration of our worship as an important aspect of our individual and corporate lives. Your ideas and input are welcome as well.
The Northlake Elders