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Customer Review

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does not really describe the eight quality characteristics, March 8, 2006
This review is from: Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches (Hardcover)
I DID appreciate the book and was so hyped up about it that I presented the concepts to my church and they got excited about it too.

However, this book does NOT actually go into details about the eight quality characteristics that the title claims to be a "guide" for.

The book is more about methodology rather than the factors involved. The book merely gives the benefits of the research, why a church should participate, and how a church applies the findings.

There may be other booklets out there that describe the eight qualities in more detail.

I do have one critique of the whole process. My problem is that the whole process leaves out some important underlying factors, such as faith, dependence on God, and evangelism. Issues that paralyze a church and impede change are overlooked.

Problems such as codependency or spiritual abuse that put a church on a downward death spiral are not considered from this paradigm. The spiritual/emotional health of a church leader is also overlooked, which is a very critical influence on the health of a church.

As a result, it becomes another externals-based "legalistic" approach to church health. It is ironic that Christians talk a lot about spiritual growth as a result of faith, but when it comes to church growth, we allow ourselves to be purely legalistic.

NCD and its "works" ARE helpful and important, but they come more as a gift from God when we are truly dependent on God in faith. We need to look under the hood, so to speak, and get at the real, deeper issues that keep churches from growing.

Here are some valuable books that I recommend in addition to NCD:

Mains, David, D.Div. Healing the Dysfunctional Church Family: When Destructive Family Patterns Infiltrate the Body of Christ.

Quick, Kenneth, D.Min. Healing the Heart of Your Church: How Leaders Can Break the Pattern of Historic Corporate Dysfunction. ChurchSmart Resources.

Rainer, Thom S. (2001) Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them.

Richardson, Ronald, Ph.D. Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life.

Scazzero, Peter. The Emotionally Healthy Church.

Steinke, Peter L. Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach.

Steinke, Peter L. How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2007 10:18:25 AM PDT
While I would agree that I would LIKE more info on the 8 Characteristics, this book is NOT set up to do so. Christian Schwarz is working on each category and producing comprehensive treatments of them, and has two published: 3 Colors of Ministry and 3 Colors of Love. I find the second to be excellent, and the first quite stimulating. In addition, when our church did the survey, and were woefully inept on functional structures, our consultant who administered the survey had several resources in mind for us to address that issue. Not produced by NCD, but supporting us in the areas identified by NCD. I still have a slightly skeptical eye on NCD, that is, if they REALLY have it all down "pat," or if there are some loopholes, but for the most part, hit the nail on the head. For instance some categories that people look for as major heading, such as "prayer" would be worked on under "passionate spirituality." NCD assumes and in its works, explicates, the broader ideas under the 8 categories. I don't remember the survey questions, but I would imagine that if one found that they were low in "Empowering Leaders" that perhaps the survey results might lead to weakness that could be addressed by the Emotionally Healthy Church, eg. That is the beauty of NCD. It does not lock you in, but points out weaknesses, and you and your leaders and consultant can prayerfully and with wisdom, determine the resources and path you need to take! Much love! Dan

Posted on Jan 21, 2011 1:22:43 PM PST
formerlawyer says:
I found your comments very interesting. Especially the point about the parts left out. NCD does have some good points but the "God" factor seems to be left out. The God factor being such things as faith, the movement of the Holy Spirit, etc...

I was disappointed to see the wbsite unchainedchurch.com is still under developement. It has been almost 4 years.

Posted on Mar 25, 2011 9:11:11 AM PDT
It doesent really help to offer support on a website that has no help.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2011 4:17:32 PM PDT
That will be removed. Sorry.
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