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Thursday, 06 May 2010 09:11

Gateway Natural Church Development Story


I first encountered the Natural Church Development material in 2002 when talking to a pastor of a church in Scotland and again in Romania a few weeks later. This led me to get hold of the Natural Church Development book when I got back to New Zealand.

I was enthusiastic about what I read, and presented the information in a shortened form to our eldership. However at that time we did not pick it up but loosely tried to improve on the quality characteristics we thought were lacking.

Later in 2007 at a pastor’s retreat in Auckland a fellow pastor who I respected encouraged us to do the survey and so in 2007 we did our first survey.



They say that after 5 years a church will reflect its leadership, and that was true.The church was okay in passion for God and relationships, but badly organized, not evangelistically activated and not empowering people into ministry.

When I looked at myself I saw that I was passionate for God, and caring towards others, but not well organized, not evangelistically active, and a bit of a one man band. Our average on the quality characteristic was 41.25

We decided with consultation to focus on Gift Orientated Ministry even though Need Orientated evangelism was lower. This was because it was felt that this would have the greatest impact, and plus there was a resource already developed for this quality characteristic. So we implemented the 3 Colours of Ministry through our cell groups. We found there was a degree of resistance and negativity about it. Some did the study but did not follow through to the consultation. Some even left the church because they did not like what we were doing. However we knew this was the right way ahead and so we pressed on in this direction.

In 2008 we completed our second survey and saw a marked increase in every area. Our average on the quality characteristics was now 58.76. By working on that one area of Gift based ministry all other area’s had risen as we identified and released people into ministries they were gifted for.


Our decision that year was to focus on empowering leadership. This meant setting up leadership training for ourselves and also building leadership generation into the church.As part of this our eldership spent time going through the 6 biotic principles outlined by Christian Swartz. We found these very helpful at changing our thinking to begin to apply the wisdom of God’s biotic principles found in nature.

We have just completed our 3rd survey (2010).


The average quality characteristic is now 70. Our lowest was now Passionate Spirituality (62) and so this year we are going to focus on building in this area. Natural Church Development has just released ‘The 3 Colours of Spirituality’ and we are looking at this resource and how it could be used to grow this area.

The whole experience of working with the Natural Church Development material and people has been life giving for us as a church, and we rejoice that we have grown markedly in the quality of our church, and that we have and will see this bring the fruit of numerical growth as well.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2010 09:25