Small Can Be Healthy

14 Feb 2013 by James Hoh CM – 


“Contrary to many people’s beliefs, a small church can be a healthy church” said Rev. Philip Sung. According to a survey of 1000 churches worldwide done by Christian Schwarz, there are eight essential elements which are indispensable for any church to grow healthily.  


Pastor Philip Sung


A small church that is tucked away in the suburban can be a healthy church when all of its members have opportunity to serve within the church. Rev. Philip sung further explained that, “as long as these essential elements are balanced, there will be ‘life’ and growth in spiritual maturity and added numbers are but a natural outcome.” 



Rev. Sung is also the Senior Pastor of Bethel Assembly of God – Malacca, and in 1996 was exposed to the NCD through Dr John Kirkpatrick in NZ who subsequently helped him do a first church profile in 1998. Later that same year, Christian Schwarz who is also the founder met and appointed him as the NCD national partner for Malaysia. He attended Natural Church Development conference in New Zealand. He found that the programme was needed in Malaysia. Subsequently, Christian Schwartz who is the Founder Of NCD came to Malaysia and met him in 1998. The result of that meeting was the birth of NCD Malaysia.    

The passion in Rev. Sung’s heart was to help build healthy churches all over the country. He explained that pastors of small churches whether in suburban or urban areas were always subjected to pressure and competitions from mega churches. Generally, pastors from small churches were not favorably looked upon, he said some thought that these pastors were not “performing” and therefore only had low attendance or few members.

“But this is not true! In fact small and medium size churches that have the following essential qualities measure up as healthier churches.” he added. These elements are:

1) Empowering Leadership

2) Functional Structure

3) “Gift Based” Ministry

4) “Need-Oriented” Evangelism

5) Inspired Worship Service

6) Holistic Small Group

7) Passionate Spirituality

8) Loving Relationships“We want to tell pastors of small and medium churches not to compare themselves to mega churches and worry about quantity and get themselves burnt out.” He added that “fruits” comes from God “all by itself”, quoting Mark 4:28

Through doing the NCD profile, the church would be able to know the strengths and weaknesses and to rectify the weaknesses. One good example would be his own church in Malacca. It was diagnosed with a lack of “member to member” loving relationships. But the problem was soon rectified. But the weakness soon improved after a year of working at it.  



Currently, the NCD concept is used by churches more than 70 countries worldwide. This NCD concept will be taught at Alpha Omega International College, PJ in Feb 2013 and Kuching, Sarawak in April 2013. For more information please contact Rev. Philip Sung at      



Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.


  1. My name is Alan George acting as General Secretary at AOG Church Maripur Karachi Pakistan. The physical size of our building is about 1200 square feet and the number of families is encouraging.

    The Holy Spirit is really blessing us in our daily needs and guiding to help people more and more.

    Request your team to remember us in your prayers.

    Blessing for you and your team in the name of Lord Jesus

    Alan George

    • Hello brother Alan,


      Thank you for letting us know about your vibrant church! We will definitely keep you in prayers and may God prepare your hearts for His great harvest!


      God Bless,

      Adeline Lum

  2. Hello. I am Joseph Jusayan, a minister-at-large with a church-planting ministry by the name of Tanglaw (Light) Christian Ministries based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Your article is like a breath of fresh air where the craze here is to go mega-church. With your permission, we will be sharing this article to local pastors who will be attending our pastors' conference in the Bicol region come the last week of March 2013. Thank you and God bless your ministry!

    • Hello Joseph,

      Thank you! We are so happy that you find this article encouraging. Please feel free to reuse the material and circulate to churches you feel would edify them. May we continue to share God’s Kingdom.

      God Bless,

      Adeline Lum

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