I hold a Doctoral degree in theological studies, specifically Christian Religious Studies majoring in the Philosophy of Religion and Theology. But my Master of Arts degree is in Biblical studies majoring in New Testament (NT) studies. I left the New Testament Studies for Philosophy of Religion because of the Greek Language and Syntax. Though I passed Greek during my Master of Arts studies, I could not keep on for a higher degree like a Ph.D., so I left New Testament Studies. I spent the minimum required three years on my Master of Arts degree as necessitated by the Institution. I know some Institutions make the MA degree one year or 18 months, but for my Institution, it is three years. I did the MDiv (Master of Divinity) and MA programs but graduated with an MA degree.
My Institution took book reviews of scholarly books in the NT as a priority, and within those three years read many books and reviewed many for my Professors. I am starting today some of those books reviewed by me. I want to encourage students and scholars to show interest in those books that shaped me and made me a theologian and published author.
Christian Schwarz’s Concept Of “Natural Church Development.” – A Review
Christian Schwarz’s concept is based on the divine principle of Creation: focusing on God, who created the Church to sustain the health and growth of the Church in like manner, as in organic farming where the root produces fruit. Schwarz formulated his concept using: God’s growth automatisms, the Eight Quality Characteristics, the Three Paradigms, and Biotic principles – Spiritualizing and Technocratic.
He considered the overestimation of the significance of Institutions, Programs, Methods, etc., of the Technocratic Paradigm. He also considered underestimating the significance of Institutions, Programs, Methods of the Spiritualistic Paradigm, and the Theological approach underlying natural Church development in the Biotic Paradigm.
Schwarz claimed that automatism is really “theomatism” in:
- Principle-oriented point of departure
- Quality of church life
- Release the growth “automatism” with which God builds the Church.
His approach is principle oriented versus model-oriented. The small groups are the pillars of church growth using eight quality characteristics. They are:
- Leadership – that is to empower leadership
- Ministry, having gifted-oriented Ministry.
- Spirituality expects a high passion for spirituality
- Structures that serve the growth of the Church
- Worship Service is the high point of the week
- Small groups exhibiting the love and healing power of Christian fellowship
- Evangelism; committed to fulfilling the Great Commission
- Relationships; love of Christ permeates all church activities.
Schwarz’s six biotic principles govern the eight quality characteristics. They are:
- The interdependence that provides for the formation of sub-systems with the potential for ongoing multiplication
- Multiplication; Reproduction through multiplication is a life principle of all God-created organisms, including the Church of Jesus Christ. The natural fruit of a church is a new church.
- Energy transformation: Transforming negative energy into “holy energy.”
- Multi-usage – in this principle, work results are transformed into energy, which sustains the ongoing work.
- Symbiosis, i.e., the Church encourages the interplay of widely diverse gifts and personality types, all benefiting one another
- Functionality – it’s a principle based on Matt 7 “Every good tree bears good fruit,” and you will know them by their fruits (Vs. 16 & 17).
Personally, Schwarz’s concept is organic, and it tends towards Faith in God and relies on growth principles that God gives to all His Creations
I highly recommend Christian Schwarz’s Concept Of “Natural Church Development.” for Christian Leaders, Scholars, and Students of Christian Religious Studies.