Growth Forces
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6 Growth Forces:
1. Interdependence

Since, in any system, individual units are connected to each other, changes in one area of parish life or ministry will affect and impact others areas and ministry, not only in the parish but potentially within the wider community. Because of this interconnectedness, clergy and parishioners want to be - need to be! - aware of these impacts and encourage and cultivate those particular changes that will always have a postive impact on the parish's long-term health and growth.

2. Multiplication

Healthy organisms do not grow endlessly, but reproduce themselves; similarly, parishes and their ministries, as organic entities, do not grow endlessly but reproduce themselves, too: bible studies multiply, one parish-wide church school class will eventually divide up into more classes as more children enter, and parishes themselves grow large enough to give birth to daughter missions. This is not merely addition, but true multiplication and reproduction.

3. Energy Transformation

The church’s energy and resources are continually assessed, harnessed and directed towards achieving its long term potential and eliminating waste. Momentum - energy already flowing - whether positive or negative, can be redirected to accomplish God's purposes. Orthodox Christians are not defeated by "negative" resources or energy, but are capable of leveraging them to fulfill God's purposes.

4. Sustainability

The church invests its resources in such a way that its various parts become self-sustaining, freeing up resources to be used elsewhere. Parish ministries should not endless use - or misuse - resources, or steal resources from other worthy but needy ministries elsewhere, but be capable of a godly self-sufficiency.

5. Symbiosis

Diverse parts of the parish can work together in synergistic "win-win" relationships. Think of parish seniors interacting with church school children. When seemingly different ministries cultivate cooperative relationships within parish life, the mutual benefit can be greater than if they were operating separately: bible studies and choir practices can have overlapping didactic goals (i.e., teaching the Faith), and youth groups and charitable outreach events can cross-pollinate (i.e., kids have fun and fellowship while helping others).

6. Fruitfulness

All areas of parish life should be - must be! - regularly assessed to ensure they are continuing to contribute to the overall healthy growth of the church as an organism. Each ministry needs to produce discernable results that can be appropriately evaluated and which are in line with their original or intended purpose. Remember what Jesus did to the tree that did not produce any fruit?

Orthodox NCD
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