Tuesday, May 04, 2010
How to Measure Maturity?
I can remember clearly my first forays into the realm of comparing church successes and by analogy, pastoral leadership success. As a 30 year old volunteer campus minister I was invited to the monthly meetings of the local denominational gatherings with all the local ministers and various denominational officials. I was excited to be with these mature spiritual leaders.
I wanted to learn how to be a "real man of God" and I assumed that I could see them up close and personal here. I must admit that I was sorely disappointed. I discovered that almost all the talk was about numbers, noses and nickels. The number of baptisms, the noses that showed up at the various church meetings and then how many nickels the congregation had contributed to the church.
Whey did they do this? I am sure there are many reasons but the easiest and most direct ways are numbers, noses and nickels. Attendance, giving and commitments are the quickest and most "reliable" ways to communicate how well we are doing in the ministry. Let's face it, measuring spirituality is like catching mercury or measuring the humidity. We only see people at public meetings so we don't really know what people are doing in private.
And, the model of ministry most churches have chosen is preaching and teaching by the ministers. It is not related to the inner spiritual development of believers but the outer, easily counted things like giving and attendance.
Here I am over forty years later and I still do not see many Pastors with different ideas about how to measure maturity of their members. Take a look at the brief article by Dallas Willard to see what you think of his ideas about measuring maturity. I like it a lot and have spent a lot of my ministry trying to foster Christian maturity. But let me say quickly, it is not easy to do.
I mistakenly posted on this blog rather than my other one, Spiritual Healing and Growth. Take a look at it there as well if you wish.
I strongly urge you to read a great book, The Critical Journey, by Janet Hagberg on this topic. It is shown at the top of the page. You can purchase it at amazon.com