More on Christian Schwarz and Church Health
Christian Schwarz in his book, Natural Church Development, reports the first worldwide study of churches to see what makes them healthy. There have been many studies done, of course, about church growth and health, but this book is the first study that looked at all kinds of churches from all over the world to see if there were some characteristics common to all healthy, growing churches.
Schwarz and his colleagues studied over 1,000 churches in 32 countries on 6 continents and analyzed 4.2 million responses to arrive at the conclusions they reached!
Using empirical data and a Scripture as his foundation, Schwarz concludes that a church will grow without human manipulation if a high level of quality is present in the life of the church in eight areas:
- Gift-oriented Ministry
- Empowering Leadership
- Passionate Spirituality
- Functional Structures
- Inspiring Worship Service
- Holistic Small Groups
- Need-Oriented Evangelism
- Loving Relationships
Some quotables from the Implementation Guide:
Churches with 1000 or more in attendance are the exceptions. By contrast, the rule should be churches of about 100 to 200 attendees who continuously help new churches to be born. This is demonstrably the most effective contribution a church can make to world evangelization.
Eighty-four percent of all churches that have done a church profile several times and have made measurable progress in view of their minimum factor have also experienced numerical growth. And without exception, wherever a quality index of 65 was reached in all eight areas – in other words, wherever the principles of natural church development have been applied in especially consistent ways – churches grow also quantitatively.
On average, smaller churches are the better churches. To say it in a simplified way: “The larger, the worse.” This pattern is so significant that it is difficult to see why no one else has come across this pattern. Instead some authors even proceed from the opposite thesis, namely “The bigger, the better.”