Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Personal Ministries in the United Kingdom and Ireland


Natural Church Development


Natural Church Development (NCD) is an approach to church growth which endeavours to apply the laws and paradigms of nature to the church in the belief that spiritual growth is not the result of human endeavour but divine activity. It happens, as Jesus observed, "all by itself." (Mark 4:26-29). NCD is therefore concerned with creating the necessary conditions for growth (just as fertile soil, moisture, light, etc. are necessary to growth in the natural world). Eight characteristics have been identified as part of those "conditions" in all healthy, growing churches: 

1. Empowering leadership
2. Gift-orientated lay ministry
3. Passionate spirituality 
4. Functional structures 
5. Inspiring worship service
6. Holistic small groups
7. Need-orientated evangelism
8. Loving relationships

The NCD process begins with a survey/questionnaire which identifies the relative strength or weakness of the local congregation in each of the above characteristics. It then offers guidance in building strategies for growth in areas of greatest weakness. Most churches which have participated in the NCD process report consequent numerical growth along with quality growth. Further information about using NCD materials, from union or local conference offices.