From the Natural Church Development (NCD) international study, by Christian Schwarz
Interdependence (long-term thinking): Individual units are connected to each other within a larger system. Changes in one ministry will have ripple effects in other ministries in the church and community. Integrating the work of various sub-ministries with wisdom can spread one cause to hundreds of effects in both the short and long term. Structures make our values visible; likewise, interdependent structures surpass the results of isolation and individualism over the long haul.
Multiplication (parenting): Healthy disciples, groups, and churches (or living beings) do not grow endlessly; instead, they reproduce themselves. “The true fruit of an apple tree is not an apple, but a whole new orchard” (NCD, p. 68). Reproducing next generations is the highest form of health and growth. It even surpasses a church’s individual growth.
Energy transformation (steering): Momentum or energy already flowing, whether positive or negative, can be redirected to accomplish God’s purposes. “And we know that all things to work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Like vaccinations or surfing, utilizing what is already on the move to advance God’s purposes in your generation is powerful. In Acts 8, hostile energy is transformed into holy energy by steering into God’s redemptive purposes, so that the blood of the martyrs becomes the seed of the church.
Multi-usage (leveraging): Resources used should increase the capacity for ongoing growth and development, and serve others directly along the way. Systems thinking and good processes allow for steady development of the group toward self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating capacities. Jesus’ “show-how” method of leadership training utilized the same energy ministering to the crowds as apprenticing disciples in the field.
Symbiosis (partnering): Individual ministries and congregations can cultivate cooperative relationships so that the mutual benefit is greater than they would achieve operating separately. Diversity + unity = empowered growth, not monopoly or competition. Look for a win-win relationship in which you love your neighbor as yourself.
Functionality (fruit-bearing): Each ministry or church should produce discernible results in line with its intended purpose. “You will know them by their fruits…every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-17). Edification is the measure of usefulness of a ministry or group, according to their created design.
For further study:
Biotic Questions for Empowering Leadership
Biotic Questions for Gift-Oriented Ministry
Biotic Questions for Passionate Spirituality
Biotic Questions for Functional Structures
Biotic Questions for Inspiring Worship
Biotic Questions for Holistic Small Groups
Biotic Questions for Need-Oriented Evangelism
Biotic Questions for Loving Relationships