Growth in the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) is desperately needed for all of us who claim to follow Jesus. Such growth enables us to glorify God; to honor God; to worship God; to trust God; to know God; to love God; to love others; to be formed into the image of Jesus; and to go and make disciples – all of which contribute to the foundation of a Christ-focused Church. All of which are difficult to measure.
Because of such difficulty, plenty of well-meaning Christian leaders believe it’s not my job, your job, their job, or anyone else’s job, to be a “fruit inspector”. They believe the determination of such character development, via the Fruit of the Spirit, is reserved for God, and God alone.
I think this worldview is dangerous for at least 2 reasons. First, it softens our focus on the things that matter most. And secondly, it allows less important issues like the Church ABC’s (Attendance, Buildings and Cash) to become primary.
Every Christian leader needs a Theology of Measurement and answering these 3 questions is a great place to begin:
- What is God asking us to measure?
- What is God not asking us to measure?
- Is there anything God is asking us NOT to measure?
The Apostle Paul let us know that God’s ways are beyond full understanding, and yet God enables us to know, test and follow His desires.
- On the one hand, God and his ways are beyond us: “his paths beyond tracing out.” (Rom. 11:33) He himself certainly cannot be measured, much less managed. “We see only a reflection as in a mirror” and “know in part” (1 Cor. 13:12).
- On the other hand, God makes himself and his ways known in his Son, by this Word and Spirit, and through his people. He makes known what he most wants to do: to transform lives by the renewing of minds (Rom. 12:2). As we offer ourselves to him for this, we are “able to test and approve what God’s will is” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Admittedly, measuring ‘heart-change is much more difficult than simply counting “nickels and noses” at each of our events. But we can, and we must, pay close attention to ‘heart change” within our Christian communities.