Sunday, October 12, 2008
Natural Church Development
Western PA Conference has used the "natural church development" program extensively in the last decade or so. Pioneered in western PA by former church consultant Rev. Sharon Schwab (now superintendent of the Indiana District) and supported wholeheartedly by Bishop Thomas Bickerton and the "Believe Again" staff (put together by our Bishop to lead the restructuring of our Conference), this program has inspired many disciples in our Conference and has seen some success. The program is based on a 1996 book by Christian Schwarz. Personally, I see much good in NCD, though it appears to be an imperfect model (what's the role of doctrine in NCD, for example, or doesn't theology matter?). I am providing a link to a friendly review of the book, found at the "More than Cake" blog. The review is written by my old friend Joe Miller, with whom I was confirmed at Westmont UMC in Johnstown, PA in 1984 and who is today a church planter in the Pacific Northwest. It's an interesting take and worth a read.