Archive for December, 2009

Natural Church Development Transforming Churches Programme

Transforming Churches:
A Nationwide NCD Process


Rainbow with gold at the endImagine what would happen in your church if you all became more enthusiastic about Jesus? If you enjoyed reading the Bible more, found prayer more inspiring, got more involved in sharing the gospel with friends and neighbours? Imagine the relationships both inside and outside of the church would be characterised by a higher degree of love? Imagine you experienced the presence of God more tangible and powerfully when you gather to worship? Imagine that as a natural consequence more people would be drawn into the fellowship of the church and they themselves experience all this?

Now imagine this happened not just in your church, but in every church in your area? Do you think it would make a difference in the surrounding community? In people’s lives? What if it did not just happen in your area, but in thousands of churches throughout the country? Do you think it would have an effect on our country, maybe even transform it?

It might sound like a nice, though somewhat naive dream, but experience from thousands of churches have shown that when a church consistently implements the principles found in Natural Church Development (NCD) the above scenario begins to happen. These churches also begin to

* Provide a healthier environment in which people can grow toward God and each other
* Connect with their community in increasingly natural ways
* Have a greater proportion of conversion growth compared to transfer growth
* Experience more manageable workloads amongst the leaders and lay workers
* Are considerably more inclined to plant other healthy churches

Add to this that after implementing these principles for just 31 months these churches experience an average increase in their growth rate of 51% and it begins to sound worth looking at, right?

The really good news is that these churches are not super or mega churches, are not led by extraordinarily gifted leaders, but are normal, local churches, with the same challenges and limitations as most other churches, and yet they are slowly, but surely being transformed themselves through seeing people inside and outside of the church transformed.

Based on these experiences NCD-UK is launching what is termed a Transforming Churches: a Nationwide NCD Process in the spring of next year and denominations and local churches all over the UK are invited to participate in the process. The goal is to see a multitude of churches grow in quality and experience the growth that come “all by itself”, to empower denominations and church groups to continually implement these principles and ultimately to see transformation in communities all over the Christian Schwarz NCD Internationalcountry.

The process will initially run over 18 months, with 3 2-day training seminars during this period. Here church leaders will be trained by Christian Schwarz and Christoph Schalk of NCD International in the implementation of NCD principles in the local church. In between the seminars the actual process will happen as leaders go back and implement the principles in their churches.
Christoph Schalk NCD International

NCD has helped individual denominations and groups to go through similar processes, but with the Transforming Churches: A Nationwide NCD Process the vision is to see many denominations and churches from different traditions joining together in the process and in that way create the basis for a much higher impact on the nation.

Neither nations or denominations will be transformed in 18 months, but the participating churches can expect to begin to experience some of the effects outlined above and as the process is continued and multiplied more and more churches will grow more and more in quality, and as a natural consequence see more and more people come to faith in Jesus Christ and into the fellowship of the local church.

This is what it is all about. It is not about some slick marketing gimmick, the newest management technique, or the latest imported church fad. Transforming Churches: A Nationwide NCD Process is all about making more and better disciples in more and better church, as Jesus commanded us, and doing it the way God intended: Through healthy, vibrant local churches reaching out into their local community with the gospel.

Imagine what could happen if your church joined the process!

Why don’t you? It is not a naive dream; it could be reality – even where you are.

UK Back to Church Sunday Results

Back to Church Sunday 2009 sees 71 per cent leap in returning churchgoers
by Charlie Boyd
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2009, 11:38 (GMT)
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Back to Church Sunday 2009 sees 71 per cent leap in returning churchgoers
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The Church of England said around 53,000 people had returned to its churches on Back to Church Sunday 2009.

Some 82,000 people returned to church across the UK on Back to Church Sunday in September, according to figures from participating churches.

The Church of England said its participating churches had welcomed back 53,000 former churchgoers.

Head of Research and Statistics with the Church of England, the Rev Lynda Barley, said the statistics gathered so far indicated a 71 per cent increase on the number who returned on Back to Church Sunday in 2008.

“We know from local research that new attenders and the churches enjoy the Back to Church experience of church,” said Rev Barley.

“Not only has the number of participating churches increased between 2008 and 2009 so that approximately 20 per cent of Church of England churches are now taking part, but the average number of extra people per church has grown, with participating churches each having welcomed an average of 19 extra people compared to 14 last year.”

Research carried out by the Diocese of Lichfield after Back to Church Sunday 2007 found that six months later, between 12 and 15 per cent of returners had become regular members. The Church of England said that if even a conservative estimate of 12 per cent of this year’s returners continued into more regular churchgoing, Back to Church Sunday 2009 would have added another 9,900 people to pews across the UK.

This year, churches went the extra mile to hand out millions of personal invitations in the run up to Back to Church Sunday 2009. In parts of the UK a rap-style advertisement went out over the radio, while the Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Rev Cyril Ashton, went out with a team of motor cyclists around South Yorkshire to invite people back to church. In Greater Manchester and Merseyside, a giant 20ft advertisement was driven through the streets of numerous towns.

The Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield, said: “Back to Church isn’t rocket science. It is, however, a way of putting a booster behind the welcome we offer people, and turning mission into less of a specialism.

“It turns evangelism into a simple invitation that any churchgoer can ask their friend or neighbour – ‘Will you come to church with me on Sunday?’

“What’s really encouraging is the way that Back to Church is becoming a core part of the Church’s DNA. Now a regular event for many churches, the buzz is catching, across churches of all traditions, and I expect to see even more churches getting involved in 2010.”

The figures have been released as church representatives gather in London to celebrate the success of Back to Church Sunday and start planning for next year’s event on 26 September 2010.

Back to Church Sunday was first held in the Anglican Diocese of Manchester in 2004. It has since spread to each of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses and congregations from Churches Together in Scotland, the Church in Wales, Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed, Salvation Army and Elim Pentecostal Churches nationwide. Internationally, the initiative is now held by Anglican churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.