How Does A Church Measure Spiritual Growth?

Our church’s mission statement is “To connect the unconnected to Christ and together grow to full devotion to Him.” It is not difficult for our leaders to measure getting people connected. We determine how many accept Christ as their Savior. When you have more than 2000 a year who accept Christ we believe the first-half of our mission is met. But how do you measure or monitor the second part, “And together grow to full devotion to Him”?

We know an individual can measure one’s spiritual health or full devotion to Christ but how do churches determine if they are meeting the second part: getting people involved in being fully devoted? It appears many new converts accept Christ and are saved. However, it seems, at first, some do not change the way they live. If our observations are correct, some churches are not meeting the needs of getting a number of Christians to become committed or fully devoted. We assume part of the problem is that Christians are unaware of what it means to become repentant, change their attitudes and begin living Christ-like lives. We must be careful not to give legalistic dos and don’ts. Yet, no matter how many classes or instructions that are made available, many fail to take advantage of what is offered. This could be the major problem!

I have been to church seminars and retreats to learn that (and these are in my mind questionable statistics) only 20% of a church membership makes up the real core. This means that they are the ones who tithe and are volunteers in the ministry. That leaves 80% or most who may not be fully-devoted or committed if statistics are correct.

How do we get the 80% or whatever to become more involved in their relationship with Christ? First, we must make sure that every Christian knows how to measure their spiritual health. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22 – 23 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Scripture makes it very clear that when we become spiritually mature we will have received the fruit of the Spirit. In our lives we will have love and not hate and regardless of the circumstance, we will still have joy and peace. Our patience will improve. We will be more kind and good in dealing with others. Our faith and trust will increase exponentially. When it comes to temptations we should have the self-control to not yield. That does not mean we will not sin or miss the mark as humans. Receiving the fruit of the Spirit is not something that happens instantaneously but is a process. Christians must set the fruits as goals.

There is a difference between gifts and the fruits of the Spirit. Every Christian can receive all the fruits but rarely does anyone receive numerous gifts. A gift may be leadership, teaching, music, prophecy or preaching to name a few.

What may keep us from obtaining the fruit of the Spirit? You may have a problem with anger. All your life you may have a short fuse and it doesn’t take much to get you angry. Chances are you have not had a lot of peace and joy in your life. The same could be true of patience. If you are a very impatient person and can’t stand to wait in line or you get angry when things don’t happen as quickly as you expect, it can affect you spiritually. You must learn to change your behavior before you may receive the fruit of the Spirit. Until we become more Christ-like in our behavior or attitude our spiritual maturity can suffer.

So how do we receive the fruits that will change our lives completely? It takes an all-out commitment to serve Christ and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us in every aspect of life. We must recognize our previous condition, change our minds and deliberately turn from previous wrong behaviors and beliefs to living as Scripture teaches.

How does the church apparently know if their members are growing spiritually? It will become noticeable in giving and in volunteering. You can sense it by co-operation and how members deal with one another. A Christian having all the fruits of the Spirit will improve church attendance and study their Bibles. There are other ways but these are some indications.

So churches can really only help Christians evaluate their spiritual health through teaching them how to measure, where they are, spiritually. It may be time for church leaders to discuss how they get members to become more committed to Christ. Hopefully, I have given just a few ideas in measuring whether members are getting spiritually connected and are fully-devoted to Christ. It is possible some Christians think they are spiritually mature yet have only a few fruits of the Spirit and don’t realize their need. Through being unaware they may be missing tremendous blessings and the church may not be fulfilling their mission.

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