The Natural Church Development survey reveals, not reality as it is, but reality as the respondents see it.
These are some of the questions from the participants questionnaire: 1. There is a lot of joy and laughter in our church. 2. The atmosphere of our church is strongly influenced by praise and compliments. 3. Our leaders clearly believe that God wants our church to grow. 4. I feel that the worship service has a positive influence on me. 5. It is my impression that the organizational structure of our church hinders church life rather than promotes it. 6. I always look forward to the worship service. 6. I can easily explain why I come to the worship service. 7. Many people are given the opportunity to actively participate in our worship services. 8. The music in the worship service helps me worship God. 9. There is a lot of creativity in the evangelistic activities of our church.
Stephen Covey says, ‘None of us sees the world as it is but as we are, as our frame of reference defines the territory. ‘God knows this. That’s how He made us. That’s why David wrote: “To the faithful you how yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. (Psalm 18:25-27 NLT)
So the survey result is a revelation of the people who answer the questions and consequently, a revelation of their church. The fact of the matter is, for us, our perception is the reality. That’s why we need thirty people to do the survey. We want the combined perspective of a group rather than just one person’s ‘reality’!