By Paulette Yaple – Cheyenne, Wyoming … What are the characteristics of a healthy, growing church?

This is the question Cheyenne church members have been asking over the last few months as they have been examining ways to engage in the RMC priority of “growing healthy churches.”

According to NADEI (North American Division Evangelism Institute) the aspects of a healthy church are effective structures, empowering leadership, gift-oriented ministry, holistic small groups, inspiring worship, loving relationships, need-oriented evangelism, and passionate spirituality.

The first step for the Cheyenne church was to identify the areas that needed to improve.  To accomplish this, Bill Nixon, pastor of Cheyenne church and 29 members took the NADEI Natural Church Development Survey.  After filling out the survey, the leadership team at Cheyenne formed an assessment committee to evaluate the results and shared them with church membership. The lowest score–empowering leadership–will be focused on first.

The next step was to conduct a focus group session with church members who were asked to write three reasons the church scored low in empowering leadership. The members chose a category or cluster to place it under: participation, training, relational cooperation, support, spiritual gifts, outreach, conflict resolution, administration, accountability, communication and legalism.

In the next few weeks, the assessment committee will evaluate the responses and determine “smart objectives” to establish measurable goals. The results, including the list of goals, will be shared and every member can choose one of three areas they wish to focus on. There will be two more meetings during the year to provide updates and address issues. After one year, the church will take the survey again to see if they have improved in empowering leadership. Then they will tackle the next weakest area.

This program gives numerical values of the church’s status illustrating areas where improvement can be made with church input and support. The NADEI program is a thorough, well-structured program according to a committee member. Another individual, commenting on the program said, if followed, it will help the church become a healthy, growing church.

If you are interested in using the Natural Church Development program in your church, you can contact NADEI at (269) 471-8303.

— Paulette Yaple is the communication director for the Cheyenne church; photo supplied