How do I know if I am hitting the mark? If what I am doing is helping people grow spiritually?
I understood his frustration. He cares so much about his church, the volunteers that serve with him and the people he ministers to.
He is a fully committed volunteer church leader.
Which means between work and family he doesn’t have unlimited time to invest in the ministry he loves.
And if he wants to make a difference he needs clarity, he needs vision and goals. He just wasn’t sure if all the events, all of the classes, and all of the services he was leading was helping people grow spiritually.
He wasn’t sure if he was hitting the mark.
Ever feel that way?
You Need A Scoreboard
A seasoned Pastor once told me that a long time ago.
I get the purpose of a scoreboard.
Everyone can see the score. Either we are winning or losing.
And if we are losing we can make adjustments.
But how do you rate someone’s spiritual growth? It’s not a quantitative measurement.
Quantitative means you can measure with numbers. Like attendance.
Yet, Quantitative measurements aren’t sufficient. For example:
- You can have someone with 100% attendance to a class and still not comprehend the material.
- You can have someone who attends church every Sunday, but whose heart isn’t transformed.
- They could be attending your church for over 10 years and be spiritually immature.
Quantitative measurement isn’t enough. You need qualitative measurement.
Unfortunately, qualitative measurement is not easy. You have to be willing to ask questions and get feedback.
It requires us to look deeper, beyond the surface level.
For example, when trying to figure out the spiritual state of my leaders I may ask the following questions:
- How are you doing?
- How are things with your spouse?
- What books are you reading?
- What has God spoken to you lately?
Measuring spiritual growth isn’t easy but it is necessary.
The Year of Discipleship
Recently I was in a meeting where someone called 2016 the Year of Discipleship.
The room seemed to have slowed down. Everyone just looked at her as she said it.
This was a divine statement. A revelation from God.
All of us had sensed something was different.
God wanted us to focus on spiritual growth. We don’t just want to build Crowds, we want to build Congregations.
Spiritually mature, spiritually aware and sensitive congregants.
3 Ways of Measuring Spiritual Growth
After we left that meeting… the words year of discipleship continued to just resonate with me. So I began to pray… I wanted to create goals that the entire family life, discipleship, care departments could align themselves with.
How do they know if they are disciplining, if they are hitting the mark?
I came up with 3 measurements…
The first is….
As I wrote those two words on a white board. I turned around to look at a team made up of volunteer leaders. Some lead our Small Groups, our Marriages, our teaching team…
The team represented different audiences but had one goal. We have to help people know God.
The word “know” goes beyond familiarity. It depicts a sense of intimacy. To know God goes beyond just facts. Or biblical truths. It leads to understanding. When helping people grow spiritually, I want them to go beyond some biblical truth and understand God intimately.
The key is developing daily habits that help us draw closer to God. Like morning devotionals, times of prayer, getting in community with other believers.
These are private practices that affect our public life. The closer we are to someone the more likely we’ll begin acting like them.
Be With God…
The second measurement for spiritual growth that I laid out was to “Be With God.” I kept thinking of the countless people who walk through our doors that have a head knowledge of who God is, but never go beyond the “veil.”
Being with God isn’t just reading a devotional. It’s about waiting on him, praying to him, experiencing his presence.
It’s also about yielding our ways to his ways. Let me explain:
There was a couple I was counseling recently. And nothing I said would get through. I prayed, shared verses, faster and nothing worked.
The problem wasn’t the council is that they did not fully surrender to God. They were not ‘dead to self’. So when something got difficult instead of doing it Gods way they did it their own way. The result was more frustration in their marriage. No one was denying themselves, neither were doing it Gods way.
Are people denying themselves? Are they learning to submit to God and crucify themselves?
The last measurement is Serve God. I am not talking about serving in ministry. But rather living a life where others are first. Philippians 2.
One of my favorite examples was told to me by a Pastor who said… every time he takes his boys to the diner he gives them an opportunity to select whose dinner they will pay for. His goal is to teach them generosity.
I’ve observed that a mature person lives for others, and an immature person lives for themselves.
I loved how John Maxwell put it when he said “every day I look for an opportunity to bless someone.”
Another sign of spiritual maturity is when people live for others and stop living for just themselves.
Measuring Spiritual Growth
So these are the three guides I gave my team to help measure spiritual growth. It’s not going to be easy digging into someone’s life and see if these characteristics are evident in them.
But if we want spiritually mature congregants we will have to do the hard work of asking questions, getting to know people and measuring their spiritual walk.
I know there is an extensive list of indicators of spiritual growth.
What are you using to measure someone’s spiritual growth? Leave a comment below.