Natural Church Development Principles and the Bible

Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans. For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you. (Proverbs 23:10-11)
If we are in a position of power we must not take advantage of that position for personal gain, or even so that some other party may gain. People with power are to ensure than justice prevails, whatever form that may take. And justice (don’t cheat your neighbor) must be guided by truth (the ancient boundary markers) and grace (defenseless orphans). These three qualities together in balance equate to love.
As if the Preacher’s directive is not sufficient in itself, he continues with another strong deterrent for such action:
Their Redeemer is always on the side of the oppressed and disadvantaged. If we do not love them, He does, and in the great accounting day – if not in this life – we will discover ourselves to be in the dock. We will discover that it all belonged to Him anyway and we were but stewards; we will have nothing with which to pay for our ‘crimes.’
Sometimes in these days, when change is the only constant, some people are always wanting to change things, to make them more relevant and appealing to the unchurched. In many cases they are changing cosmetics things, making changes that irritate others, changing things that do not really need to be changed. Ancient boundary markers – like the eight quality characteristics of Natural Church Development – cannot and should not be changed. Perhaps in a church, the only changes that should be made at the commencement of the NCD process, are those changes that will facilitate improvements in church health; such changes will give members sufficient to grapple with, without making them all angry by changing a few cosmetic things and sending church health plummeting!

Natural Church Development Principles and the Bible

Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. (Proverbs 8:10, 11)

My father often used to say to me, “Money does not grow on trees, you know!” It sounded reasonable at the time; but now I’m not so sure.

The Preacher has said we should choose his instruction over silver and gold and rubies. I suppose whenever we buy a book or pay for a course we are more or less doing just that; ‘more or less’ because not all books or all courses would be in the ‘wisdom’ category.

If it comes to a choice between wealth and wisdom, the Preacher says it’s a no brainer; we must choose wisdom.

Now he is making the reason for that clear (Proverbs 8:17-21): Wealth – silver, gold, rubies and other such treasure – is the fruit of wisdom. In other words, if we make worldly wealth our goal, there is no guarantee we will get it; but if we stake our life on finding wisdom we will succeed at finding it, and get wealth thrown in!

By going after money we are pursuing the fruit without nurturing the ‘tree’ that produces the money; that tree is the wisdom the Preacher is talking about.

This whole scenario is very much the way some Christians and churches set up for evangelism; they go after the fruit – converts – without bothering to nurture the plant – their local church – that produces and matures the fruit.