Letter From the Director
NCD: A Different Approach
. . . for Different Results
"Let’s get real." That was the essence of a challenging message I heard this past Sunday in a Holston Conference church. In a world of quick fixes and superficial solutions we're almost taken back when a different path is offered — one that takes time, invites us to participate in an honest assessment of where we are, calls for deep commitment and creative visioning, and acknowledges that it is God who ultimately brings health and growth to the church.
NCD is that new path, and I am filled with hope that it will make a real difference in the life story and journey of many Holston churches in the years to come. As NCD founder Christian Schwarz says: "Natural Church Development is not a single action with a static beginning and an ending point. Rather, it is a process that shapes the life of the church over the long term."
As we commit ourselves to NCD for the long term, we affirm its foundational principles, some of which are:
Trinitarian — NCD recognizes God's revelation to humanity in a threefold way. The three colors — green for "creation revelation," red for "salvation revelation," and blue for "personal revelation" — are central symbols of NCD.
Natural — NCD builds on the biblical insight that good roots inevitably produce good fruit. If the quality of church life is high, a church will grow quantitatively. NCD's task is not to "make" a church grow, but rather to release the growth potential that God has already implanted.
Holistic — All eight quality characteristics are important. NCD seeks to bring them together holistically.
Creative — NCD does not impose a specific model. It seeks to stimulate and nurture a church's God-given uniqueness.
Research Based — NCD is based on comprehensive research conducted in thousands of churches in some 50 countries. The goal of the research is to identify universal church growth principles.
Biblical — NCD holds the Bible as the normative standard. Everything that can be learned from other churches, from research, or from nature, is evaluated in light of Biblical principles. Its primary goal is to show the relevance of the Word of God to our daily lives.
Practical — NCD seeks to assist in the practical application of knowledge. It helps us discover practical ways to serve God better and to develop a healthy, relevant, and attractive church.
NCD is a different path, one well worth taking. Pray for our new journey ahead.
Living In Hope,
Richard S. Edwards, Director
Oct. 25, 2006