P.O. Box 626 108 3rd Ave E Oneonta, AL O: 205-625-5681 F: 205-625-6173
Lester Memorial UMC
Thursday, July 24, 2014
     Lester Memorial participates in an ongoing introspection using the principles and resources of an internationally renowned program with more than a decade of research behind it called Natural Church Development (NCD). The developers of NCD examined thousands of thriving churches to identify eight common “quality characteristics” and have designed strategies that other churches can implement to encourage development of those characteristics. Since its inception, over 50,000 churches in 70 countries have participated in the NCD process, resulting in healthier churches around the globe.  

     The end result of this process is that researchers have found out what churches drawing people to Christ are doing and have devised ways to help us foster those characteristics at Lester Memorial.    

     Natural Church Development is a process. It is not something that we can say we have started and will be finished with on such-and-such a date. It is ongoing and will be a part of Lester for as long as the church finds it is valuable.  It is a process that invites the entire congregation to participate albeit in different ways.   

     Here is how the process has played out at Lester. In 2009, a Church Health Team was founded to handle NCD at Lester. The team invited 30 members of Lester to take the NCD survey to assess our church health. Through that survey, we evaluated our effectiveness across NCD’s eight quality characteristics: empowering leadership, gift-based ministry, passionate spirituality, effective structures, inspiring worship service, holistic small groups, need-oriented evangelism, and loving relationships. We identified inspiring worship as our “minimum factor.”  After receiving the survey results, the Church Health Team met with various groups (the youth, Sunday school classes, administrative council team leaders, etc.) to brainstorm ways to improve our minimum factor and set goals to make that happen. After that, our worship teams, our music teams, and our pastors, among others, began working to implement those goals. Once the Church Health team thought we had reached our goals, we resurveyed to see if we had improved on our minimum factor.  We did improve. In the second round of surveys, “effective structures” was identified as the minimum factor. We are currently working on the goals we have set to improve the structures in place at Lester.

Current Minimum Factor:  Effective Structures

Current Goals to Improve Minimum Factor:

Ø    All team leaders will meet in January to set the calendar of the church for 2011 and to initiate leadership training.  Once the calendar is set, team leaders will be responsible for reporting back to their teams and going forward with their plans.  The church calendar will be distributed through the NewsLester, the church website, bulletin inserts and bulk church emails.  

Ø    Institute a 3-member standing subcommittee of the SPRC team for recruitment and hiring of support staff.

Ø    Make the Annex building handicap accessible by 6/30/11.  

Ø    Commission a Facility Master Plan by 3/31/11.  

Ø    Get a usable map of our church facilities designed and placed in conspicuous areas by 2/28/11.  

Ø    Increase Sunday school attendance by 10% by 12/31/11.

Ø    Get each Sunday school class to develop a mission statement ("Why are we here?") and a ministry and mission vision ("What do we do both inside and outside the Church?") by 3/31/11.  

Ø    Use mission statements and visions to advertise and promote Sunday school attendance and full participation by each class member in the mission of the class.

Current Church Health Teams Members:

Barry Hallman, Rita Treutel (chair), Bill Barnett, Mary Jim Bottcher,  Beverly Ellis, Joe Hastings, Christy Marquard, Jill Sellers and Russell Smith