Living things grow in… in terms of maturity. This one will be short and sweet because it has a pretty big “DUH!” factor.
As I have in the previous two posts concerning this evaluation tool — The Hokey Pokey: An Evaluation Tool & The Hokey Pokey: Living Things Grow Up — allow me to use my daughter (sorry Audrey), as the “example” here. Over the past year my wife and I have have noticed significant growth in her ability to communicate, logic things out, respond emotionally, etc. This is, in large part, due to the experience of another full year of life under her belt in our home, under our teaching and example.
Audrey has matured.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHURCH?
In terms of the church, internal growth is all about spiritual maturity.
The church’s ability to understand and communicate deeper, fuller and more accurate theological and doctrinal truths should grow. A group/ministries ability to emotionally and logically handle challenges, temptations, doubts, difficulties, and the like should be greater than, say, a year ago. Relationships should become more Gospel-centered and Kingdom-focused. Confession and repentance should be more commonplace.
These are all areas that any healthy church should see measurable growth in.
A FEW QUESTIONS
How have you grown spiritually through your ministry? In what ways have you seen others growing? What challenges has the Lord either allowed or brought into your ministry and what did those challenges produce (for the group and/or the individual)?
Potluck fellowships, faithful attendance, fluffy feelings, and familiarity are not Fruits of the Spirit. They are not bad things. They are blessings to be enjoyed by God’s people but they are not marks of spiritual health or maturity.
A church that isn’t growing in their spiritual maturity (ie. growing inwardly) is an unhealthy church
Colossians 1:6-10; 2:6-7
1 Corinthians 14
Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:1-2