Natural Church Development (NCD) survey results have revealed that, between 2013 and 2018, the North New South Wales (NNSW) Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church demonstrated the largest collective improvement in cultural change within any region or denomination anywhere in the world.
Natural Church Development is an international, non-denominational organisation that distributes surveys to measure growth in Christian churches globally. NCD encourages all participants to conduct the surveys annually, or at a minimum of every two years, to assess eight primary criteria: empowering leadership, gift-based ministry, passionate spirituality, effective structures, inspiring worship services, holistic small groups, need-oriented evangelism and loving relationships.
Over the past five years, respondents in NNSW reported significant increased satisfaction in all areas.
Natural Church Development Australia director and NCD International co-director Adam Johnstone says that there has been an “unquestionable level of healthy cultural change” across the NNSW Conference.
“Seven points overall progress, from 46 to 53 points, in five years, is the largest collective improvement we’ve come across in an Adventist conference,” says Mr Johnstone. “[It’s] the largest collective improvement I’ve personally come across in any region of any movement around the world.”
The NNSW Conference’s growth can be attributed to their intentional NCD strategy, which has been in place for over ten years, and the subject of continual prayer and persistence.
“The NNSW NCD strategy is the most consistent and deliberate one I have encountered,” Mr Johnstone continues. “Plenty of local churches and conferences think about where they would like to be in five years’ time, but few are willing to stay the course to see the kind of results emerging in NNSW.”
Mr Johnstone has encouraged the NNSW Conference that the same level of progress can be achieved over the next five years if the Church maintains its current momentum.
“It would move [the Church] into very rare fruitfulness territory as a collective body of the Church in the global context . . . progress that is almost undetectable day-by-day, or month-by-month is celebrated from the hilltops!”
NNSW Conference’s NCD coordinator Gillian Knight is amazed at the survey’s results.
“My first reaction . . . was one of joy and pride to think that 10 years of hard work has paid off. Then to hear how we sit internationally was sheer disbelief,” said Gillian. “I am proud of our churches and the obvious willingness they have made to change.”