Natural Church Development

Natural Church Development is the outcome of an international research project conducted by Christian Schwarz.  From 1994-1996 the Institute for Natural Church Development gathered 4.2 million survey responses from over 1000 churches (30 surveys from each church) representing 32 countries, 20 denominations, 18 languages, and 6 continents.

These churches were large and small, growing and declining, persecuted and state-subsidized, charismatic and non-charismatic, prominent models and entirely unknown. The purpose of the research was to provide the first worldwide scientifically verifiable answers to the questions, “What church growth principles are true, regardless of culture and theological persuasion?” and “What should each church and every Christian do to obey the Great Commission in today’s world?”

The book, Natural Church Development, and the survey instrument for assessing congregational health in eight essential quality areas are now published in dozens of languages.  Trained coaches are available to assist with the assessment and follow up implementation

 Natural Church Development Survey

The Natural Church Development survey measures the church's relative health in eight areas that have been demonstrated to have a clear correlation with healthy church growth known as Quality Characteristics.

The survey consists of about 90 questions to be answered by 30 church members who are active in ministry, involved in some kind of small group life, and who are considered by the leaders to be at the center of church life, plus a questionnaire to be filled out by the senior pastor and other paid ministry staff. This data is computer scored to generate scores for each of the eight quality characteristics showing how much above or below the national norms the church's scores are in each of the eight Quality Characteristics.  A detailed analysis called, Profile Plus, provides a question by question comparison with the churches in the database and tracks a church's progress after multiple surveys.

 NCD Coaches

In addition to Don Green, who is a trained Natural Church Development coach, Dr. Wayne Shaw,  Dean Emeritus of the Seminary and long-time Professor of Preaching, is also a trained NCD coach.  He is available to work with churches in conducting the assessment with an NCD survey and the follow-up implementation process. 

A recent seminary graduate, Aaron Cantrell, has also completed NCD training and is available to consult with churches.  He can be contacted at:


To locate a Natural Church Development coach in your area contact ChurchSmart Resources in Carol Stream, IL (

 NCD Case Studies

Richwoods Christian Church, Peoria, IL 
Richwoods Christian Church, Peoria, IL completed the NCD survey in the summer of 2001. Since addressing their minimum factor of Passionate Spirituality, they have seen significant improvement in congregational health and vitality. You may contact Jim Powell about their NCD experience at 309-691-5252.

First Christian Church, Beardstown, IL
First Christian Church, Beardstown, IL completed their first NCD survey in the spring of 2002. As a result of focusing on their minimum factor of Gift-oriented Ministry for the past several months, they have over 100 people who have discovered their spiritual gifts and are now ready for placement in some area of ministry. For more information you may contact Preaching Minister, Mike Courson, at 217-323-1677.

Taylorville Christian Church, Taylorville, IL 
Taylorville Christian Church, Taylorville, IL completed their first NCD survey in the summer of 2001. They demonstrated significant improvement in overall congregational quality after addressing their minimum factor of Gift-oriented Ministry. Their second survey, completed in the summer of 2002, showed improvement in every area. In the summer of 2005 they completed their fourth survey and with the Profile Plus detailed analysis they were able to track their progress.  Dick Wamsley, Preaching Minister, and the leadership have embraced the principles of Natural Church Development and may be reached at 217-824-6621.

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