Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Humility

  • Trap Door, T Bone Burnett +

    One of my all time favorite songs. Sums up the struggle for letting Christ live through me rather than me Read More
  • April 5 Evening Devotional: CH Spurgeon +

    "Before honour is humility." Proverbs 15:33 Read More
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purple1How Do We Assess Spiritual Growth?

An interview in Leadership Journal, May 2010

How can churches know if they are being effective at making disciples?

Many churches are measuring the wrong things. We measure things like attendance and giving, but we should be looking at more fundamental things like anger, contempt, honesty, and the degree to which people are underthe thumb of their lusts. Those things can be counted, but not as easily as offerings.

Why don't more churches gauge these qualities among their people?

First of all, many leaders don't want to measure these qualities because what they usually discover is not worth bragging about. We'd rather focus on institutional measures of success. Secondly, we must have people who are willing to be assessed in these ways. And finally, we need the right tools to measure spiritual formation.

There are some good tools available like Randy Frazee's Christian Life Profile and Monvee.com,which John Ortberg likes. In the past people grew through relationships with spiritual mentors and by engaging the church community.

Is there a danger that these individual assessment tools will remove the role of community in formation?

Any of these devices must be used in a community setting. Assessment tools that work best are a combination of self-assessment and the assessment of a significant other who knows you well. They don't work with people who don't want to be assessed, and they should not be administered like individual personality tests that some employers use. If you have a group of people come together around a vision for real discipleship, people who are committed to grow, committed to change,committed to learn, then a spiritual assessment tool can work. But there must be a deep fellowship of trust to support that work.

I don't think any group should go into an assessment without that. I wouldn't advise a pastor to use one of these tools on his or her congregation without first establishing a clear commitment to discipleship. You can't take your average congregation and just lay one of these assessments on them.

Are you ever discouraged by how few churches have that kind of clear commitment to discipleship?

I am not discouraged because I believe that Christ is in charge of his church, with all of its warts, and moles, and hairs. He knows whathe is doing and he is marching on. But I do grieve for the people within the church who are suffering—especially the pastors and their families. They are suffering because much of North America and Europe has bought into a version of Christianity that does not include life in the kingdom of God as a disciple of Jesus Christ. They are trying to work a system that doesn't work.

Without transformation within the church, pastors are the ones who get beat up. That is why there is a constant flood of them out of the pastorate. But they are not the only ones. New people are entering the church, but a lot are also leaving.Disappointed Christians fill the landscape because we've not taken discipleship seriously.

What can pastors do to change this dynamic?

Change their definition of success. They need to have a visionof success rooted in spiritual terms, determined by the vitality of a pastor'sown spiritual life and his capacity to pass that on to others. When pastors don't have rich spiritual lives with Christ, they become victimized by other models of success—models conveyed to them by theirtraining, by their experience in the church, or just by our culture. They begin to think their job is managing a set of ministry activities and success is about getting more people to engage those activities. Pastors, and those they lead,need to be set free from that belief.

http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=141

Reflections to Consider

  • Warfare Spirituality

    The Trinity function as farmers of our souls, actively caring for God’s creation: an ongoing, radical reclamation of His creation. Read More
  • Corporate Spirituality

    Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship Solitude, community and ministry are three areas requiring balance and integration in the Christian walk. The Read More
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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • The Cleansing of the Temple by RC Sproul +

    http://www.ligonier.org/account/dashboard/sermon/151/download/ In this incident of Jesus cleansing the temple, Dr. Sproul points out that the activities being performed were legitimate, Read More
  • The Prodigals by Kevin DeYoung +

    During the Gospel Coalition conference in 2013, Kevin DeYoung gave a thoughtful, spirit-led sermon on Luke 15. He was able Read More
  • Centered on one or the other by Ray Ortlund +

    ". . . a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" Luke 7:34 What does it mean for a church to be gospel-centered? That's Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Prayer by Alex Kirk, Chatham Community Church +

    What role does prayer play in our lives? What is prayer, anyway? Alex Kirk, pastor of Chatham Community Church, gives Read More
  • How to be Mary in a Martha world by Jim Abrahamson, Chatham Community Church +

    Jim Abrahamson spoke at Chatham Community Church on an essential of the Christian walk Who/what is our savior? What is Read More
  • Christ the King Sunday by Art Going (Holy Trinity Chatham) +

    A thoughtful discussion of how we function as colonizers for Christ the King.  Read More
  • MY STUPID MOUTH by Steve Tamayo of Chatham Community Church +

    Tremendous sermon on the liabilities of our tongue, both in what we say and don't say. Read More
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