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Smaller churches do as well as larger churches in all key areas but one, according to analyst Christian A. Schwarz. That bodes well for the future of those in the shadow of mega-ministries.

Surveying 1,000 churches in 32 countries, he found eight principles of health in churches around the world, regardless of size, culture, or denomination.

The resulting "natural church development" approach has prompted debate among the experts worldwide. American pastors are starting to notice the observations of someone with an international perspective. Schwarz heads the Institute of Church Development in Germany.

Turned off by what he calls "technocratic thinking" in the church, Schwarz is bullish on smaller congregations. His research tells him that's where the action is. But Schwarz spies signs of reformation among churches of all sizes, which he discussed with LEADERSHIP's Craig Brian Larson.

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