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  • Do leaders and members take the same survey?
    Yes, the current version of NCD survey (revised in 2007) includes the same survey for everyone. There is also a facilitator’s form, which is filled out by the pastor; this form is mainly for gathering demographic information.
  • Why 30 surveys? What if my church is smaller?
    Based on extensive scientific testing, 30 surveys have been determined to be the optimal number for a church of any size to complete. If your church is smaller than 30 people, all the people in your church should fill out the survey.
  • What if I want more than 30 people in my congregation to take the survey?
    This survey has been scientifically tested; if the specified criteria are followed, 30 surveys are enough to generate an accurate report. If churches want more than 30 surveys, they can choose the electronic version or a mixed version of printed and electronic surveys, which they can collect and enter online.However, when the printed version is ordered, only 30 surveys will be sent to the church to be filled out, and only 30 filled out surveys entered into the system by the NCD team to produce the church’s profile.
  • What are the different stages in the develpment of the surveys?
    Before the first international study, there were a number of explorative studies starting with (1) gathering the existing information provided by other research, continuing with (2) several versions of provisional, non-scientific tests, and leading to (3) a scientific evaluation of the existing assessment tool, including suggestions for its further development. After it had been field tested with churches in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the newly developed survey was used for studying the first sample of 1118 churches with 34,414 respondents in 32 countries. This is the research phase that is represented in the book, Natural Church Development. The huge amount of data collected worldwide has made the NCD files an extremely promising base for conducting secondary studies, without the necessity of collecting new data by means of newly designed questionnaires. The secondary studies use the original raw data, including the possibility of measuring development over time.
  • How should I select people in my congregation to take the survey?
    Pastors/facilitators of the survey sometimes underestimate the proper selection of participants and then wonder about the results. The participants should not be selected as those who are pastor’s favored members. There are three criteria that each participant should meet: Each individual participant must regularly attend the worship service, AND Must have some form of regular task in the church (no matter what it is), AND Must be part of some form of small group in the church (any subgroup of the worshiping community). In addition to fulfilling the above three criteria, the collective survey group should be representative of the church as a whole; that is, it should include non-leaders as well as leaders, a proportionate number of people from different age groups, ethnicities, genders, etc.
  • What type of follow up support is available in the evaluation of results and implementation of action plans?
    We have books addressing the areas that you may need to address based on your survey results, as well as online resources (NCD Cycle starters) to help start the process of improvement. We also provide 2-day NCD training for pastors/leaders/coaches:
  • How long does it take to get results on the 30 church member survey?
    While it is impossible to determine an exact time, the process goes like so: When you do the paper survey, you will be sent the paper surveys. You will then arrange for the selected participants to fill them out. Once you have collected all of the paper surveys, you will send them back to our office. We enter the data and send you the results by email (in PDF format). When you choose the electronic version, we will set up an account for you; you will then be free to start your church project. You will enter the names and email addresses of participants on the website, and they will receive an automated email invitation with a survey link. This link can open on their smartphones, iPads or computers – it should be relatively simple for them to fill out the survey online. You are always able to log into your account and reopen your church project, seeing who has filled out the survey and who has not, adding more names and email addresses if needed, etc. until you have the 30 surveys returned. After filling out the facilitator’s form, you hit “Produce Profile” button, then “proceed” and in half a minute, you have the results popped on the screen in from of you. You can immediately download them in PDF format.
  • What does a score of 50 mean?
    In the survey, the mean value is set at 50. In other words, an average church would score right at 50. We could equate this with getting a C in school. Not exactly something to jump up and down about, but passing nevertheless. If a church does better than most churches in a specific quality characteristic, it would score above a 50, or below 50 if it is not doing well. Seventy percent of churches will score between 35 and 65. Fifteen percent of churches score below 35, and 15% score above 65. Different approaches to implementing improvements are needed, depending on your overall average score.
  • What should my church do if we score below 35?
    An average score below 35 is cause of concern. Resistance to change is a major issue in churches that are below 35. The lack of health didn’t happen over night; it has become the norm for the congregation. To reach optimal health, significant change will be required. On a positive note, reality can now be faced and hope for a brighter future is possible. For this step to take place, outside help is required. It is advisable for the church to see the assistance of an outside consultant.
  • What should my church do if we score about 65?
    It is natural that the members of these churches can’t help by share their enthusiasm for the dynamic church they of which they are a part. The church grows through word of mouth…naturally! Testimonies of God’s works are regularly heard. However, this side of heaven, there will always be areas for improvement. Churches who score a 65 or higher should especially focus on the lowest 10 questions (particularly those that fall below a 50). Another important consideration is to work on decreasing the distance between the lowest scoring category and the highest scoring category (known as the min-max factor). This number should ideally be less than 15. Tightening the scores between categories will better enable the church to continue with excellent health.
  • How often should my church take the survey?
    The NCD survey should be taken annually. It is counterproductive to take the NCD survey one time and then do nothing with it. There should be ongoing analysis with new steps for improvement every year. When you work on a low area, it should improve. But, how much did it improve? Is there another area that has emerged as a concern? Has the overall health been impacted positively? These questions can be answered and addressed by taking another survey.
  • What is the min-max factor, and why is it important?"
    The min-max factor reflects difference between the score on your lowest quality and your highest quality. As an example, if your church scored a 64 on need-oriented evangelism (a very good score), but a 32 on loving relationships (not such a good score), what is the different between these scores? 32. Ideally, the spread should be 15 or less. A spread of 15-30 needs some attention. If a church has a spread of greater than 30, it is likely that conditions in the church are such that a lot of energy is being expended just to maintain the current condition. This big spread often indicates a significant level of stress in the congregation. Again, some outside help is recommended with a spread greater than 30, regardless of your overall average score.
  • What are some helpful resources to use as my church moves forward with implementing change?
    The Minimum Factor Manual providing helpful “next steps” for your church health team and is on pages 5-17 in the church profile report; this can be duplicated for your church health team.
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