A couple of things about measurement left over from yesterday

As you measure spiritual growth as a church, I think you're best off if you measure corporately as opposed to individually. Jesus' stinging rebuke to the church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-16) did not indicate there was nobody who was either hot or cold, but that the church as a whole had lukewarm. When we attempt to measure our effectiveness as a church we have to think in terms of the group as a whole rather than looking at specific individuals. There will always be outliers on both sides of the equation. 

Secondly, our criteria has to be biblical. We ski down the slippery slope to legalism if we manufacture a test for maturity that is not prescribed by Scripture. If we measure how many of our people have a 30 minute quiet time every day we measure the wrong thing. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We have to flesh those out somehow, but need to leave enough room so as not to define "faithfulness," for example, too narrowly. 

Finally, we are measuring progress rather than static activities. I don't expect a person who is just growing in his faith to have completely mastered self-control, but I do expect him to have more self-control this year than he did last year. I don't expect my church to have arrived at goodness today, but I expect us  (as a whole) to be closer than we were yesterday.  

Measuring heart change is difficult because people are messy, and God does not complete a series of steps in the same order for each person when it comes to making us more like Him. It just doesn't work that way. 


chloeadele said...

that's just what i was going to say.


so is there ever a reason/way to measure heart change in an individual? some people take longer than others to make the same progress.

And if you're not detecting any change, do you question whether there is real belief there or just whether they're choosing to act on that belief? I hear a lot of people question a person's salvation if they can't detect any compulsion to follow Christ from the person. I'm pretty positive that a saved person can act in a manner completely opposite of what Jesus teaches. Free will and all. Plus our powers of detection are probably highly flawed...