So much of what we do in the Western world, and therefore the Western Church, is to think in linear ways. Everyone knows the standard approach to planning: know where you are, decide where you want to be, then put a plan in place to get there. It‟s always about getting from A to B. But is it?
The world that God created naturally operates in cycles. It is the natural order of all growing things. We acknowledge this without even thinking twice about it. The cycle of life is something we take for granted. Cycles are part of the everyday life of churches. The “church year” is but one example. The issue is that very few church leaders pursue the growth of their church in a systematic cyclical way. Yet adopting a cyclical approach is the most effective way to address issues of life, health and growth. Experience has shown that farmers and others whose lives are largely influenced by the forces of nature intuitively understand the power of the cyclical approach to life whereas those from the city find it harder to grasp.
Natural Church Development’s growth cycle includes the following elements:
- we experience God at work in the church and in our lives generally
- we each perceive these experiences in different ways
- we collectively test our perceptions
- this increases our understanding of God’s work and will
- God expects us to act on increased knowledge of Him, so we plan
- we act on our planning yielding new experiences and new perceptions
- we seek to understand the barriers to growth
Download an introduction to Natural Church Development (NCD), and learn more about the growth cycle.
© Natural Church Development, used by permission