The St. John Lutheran Health Team was tasked with moving forward with the Natural Church Development (NCD) process following the last two congregational surveys. It is well documented that a healthy church has to have 8 quality characteristics to grow. Both surveys confirmed that “empowering leadership” was our congregation’s weakest characteristic, or” minimum factor.” A review of the 8 quality characteristics, or factors, rated in the survey were:

  • Are our leaders focused on equipping believers for ministry?
  • Are tasks distributed according to the criterion of personal gifts?
  • Is the spiritual life of the members characterized by passion?
  • Do the structures of our church contribute to growth?
  • Are worship services an inspiring experience for the members?
  • Do the small groups address the life issue of their members?
  • Need-oriented evangelism – Are the evangelistic activities related to the needs of those we are trying to reach?
  • Are the relationships of the members characterized by love?

Our team focused on a 5-step plan for taking a congregation through the NCD process of examining the factors, and in our case, examining empowering leadership to understand and diagnose where we could help improve this factor. This 5-step process is: 1) prepare 2) diagnose 3) plan 4) implement, and 5) evaluate. This past spring our team prepared and planned three congregation focus groups to help us diagnose and identify steps we thought would help improve our congregation in the area of empowering leadership.

Through this process we not only received some wonderful ideas of mission, but more importantly began to understand that as we listened to our members discuss topics of interest and passion, we were also beginning to understand that bringing our congregation together for constructive conversation was, in itself, fertilizing the roots of empowering leadership. Members were engaged and interests were acknowledged. This was a chance to have constructive conversations and better understand our member’s passions. This type of focus group, as we found out, was in itself “empowering leadership!”

From this diagnosis, our NCD Health Team has recommended the creation of a task force to help organize and plan congregational events to help our congregation come together in fellowship, worship, faith, and mission. These events would give us a chance to communicate and help bring focus to needed ministries while bringing people together and “empower them” with like interests and involvement. These events may also be as simple as communicating and celebrating what all is happening with the good works of St. John Lutheran Church! We feel this type of spiritual connectedness can only help us grow in God’s plan for St. John together and empower us all.

Thank you for everyone’s help on the NCD Health Team and to those who participated in the focus groups. We look forward to updating you in the next few weeks on our first congregational event.

Ted Grund
NCD Health Team

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