Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches

by Christian A. Schwarz. ChurchSmart Resources, 2006.

This book, based on a survey of more than 1,000 congregations around the world, offers a valuable contribution to the discussion of why churches grow. Rather than offering a model for church growth—a type of worship service or a style of leadership—Shwarz identifies the qualities that can be found in growing churches and offers guidance and action steps for increasing these qualities in individual churches. The qualities Schwarz lists include: empowering leadership; gift-oriented ministry; passionate spirituality; functional structures; inspiring worship service; holistic small groups; need-oriented evangelism; and loving relationships. Assessment tools and consultants trained in using them can help congregations learn about which of these qualities needs the most attention and thus contribute to health and growth. This colorful book includes many illustrations, charts, and graphs.