Developing Healthy Churches in the Diocese of Coventry
The diocesan strategy has been developed around enabling the 8 Essential Qualities (8EQs) of healthy growing churches to be woven into the DNA of the Diocese, its parishes and its structures. The work of the Healthy Churches Development Mentor is to promote this and to assist people in applying them in their situation.
Where Do the 8EQs Come From
The 8EQs of healthy growing churches have been identified through extensive international and interdenominational research of thousands of churches across the world. This has been undertaken by Christian Schwarz who coined the phrase Natural Church Development (NCD) to describe the principles identified in his research.
NCD is not a programme or a “quick-fix” to grow a church. It is a different way of thinking and at its heart is the Scriptural picture of the church as a living organism in which God gives the growth. It encourages us to think about the church (the body of Christ) as a living organism and about how we can work with God to facilitate the healthy qualitative growth of the church. Its universal principles are applicable regardless of culture, denomination or churchmanship.
The tools provided by NCD are an important part of this process and a team has been developed to assist parishes in their use.
For a full understanding of NCD, the primary book to read is Colour Your World with Natural Church Development by Christian Schwarz. This book is available from the Diocesan Office by and can be ordered from here. The Diocesan team also gives training in this as part of their support process.
Growing in the 8 Essential Qualities
The Healthy Churches Development Mentor and his team exist to support parishes and other bodies and groups within the diocese to develop the 8EQs. Many parishes that have received a presentation on the 8EQs have gone on to explore the quality characteristics of their church.
They have tried to identify their strongest and weakest characteristics and have been encouraged to use their strengths to improve their weakest area. Whilst church discussion is a good place to start in exploring the 8EQs, NCD provides a number of tools to help do this even more effectively, to analyse our situation and to address the issues raised.
One of the main tools NCD provides is a survey which is taken by a representative sample of a church’s membership each year or so. This provides accurate and detailed information on which to base sound decisions for future action. Because the process is on going and cyclical it also enables us to measure progress over a period of time.
Parishes wishing to take the next step in developing the 8EQs can discuss their situation with Clive Hicks, the Healthy Churches Development Enabler and agree a process with him.
Diocesan Offices, 1 Hill Top, Coventry, CV1 5AB