In the past months I have met with dozens of our congregations whose life is being transformed through Natural Church Development.
NCD is one of the many exciting innovations that Dale Cohen has brought to our Conference. The program has now been augmented by the appointment of Lori Carden to focus fully on NCD work and help take our NCD efforts to the next step.
People, once said, “Why are we starting new churches and not revitalizing older churches?” NCD is now a Conference Priority and our chief means of congregational transformation. Three times more churches are engaged in NCD than the number of new congregations.
While the NCD process offers many gifts, I would like to highlight just one: the ministry of truth-telling.
Time and again I’ve hard from pastors that the best thing about NCD is, “More truth has been told in this congregation through NCD than has been told in twenty years.”
One of the most significant moments is when a congregation, after a congregation–wide assessment focuses on its “maximum and minimum factors.” Truth is told in that moment. In fact, a major reason why churches fail to enter into the second year of NCD is the inability to face the facts of their situation and a fear that they have not the God-given resources to handle the challenges before them.
Of course, I’m a preacher, so I’m supposed to be in the truth business on a weekly basis. We also worship a Savior who is not only the way and the life but also the truth.
One of my leadership guides says, “A leader helps an organization face the truth that it has been avoiding for decades, all with the faith that the organization has the resources to deal with the truth.” I have that faith for the churches of our Conference. God has given us what we need to transform ourselves, to grow, to move more dynamically into the future – if we will avail ourselves of the God-given opportunities for transformation like NCD. Thanks to Lori Carden and to Dale Cohen for their great leadership in NCD.
William H. Willimon
Is your church in NCD? Email Lori Carden at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your church on board.