Monday, March 03, 2014
Spiritual growth of believers should be the goal of any church. We are to reach unbelievers and introduce them to Christ, but the end goal according to the command of Jesus is making disciples. It would even make sense then, that as much as we count the offering or attendance on Sundays, if we want to know we are being successful as a church, we have to somehow “count” our success at making disciples.Amen to that!
Yet spiritual growth is a difficult subject and can be hard to measure, because a church can offer the same ministries and attention to the same group of people and get extremely different results.
I don’t know that we can ever know as clearly numerically as we do with attendance or contributions. But, I think there are principles that can help us know we are on the right track to building disciples, for each of the three groups mentioned above. These principles, when understood, can bring a sense of clarity as to whether we are truly realizing the mission of the church.He concludes:
Please understand this is not a formula and principles are not foolproof. I believe, however, that understanding these principles can help us see the process of discipleship as something doable, even “measurable”, if we continually strive to create environments conducive for spiritual growth to occur.I'm really confused now. If I understand this he is saying we cannot form the thing, but we can create the environment. That's a bit like saying, "I'll create an ecosystem for fish and they will spontaneously appear." Doesn't happen, gotta plant the fish. One other thing, without the fish, the ecosystem cannot be maintained for very long. In reality, the fish make the ecosystem, not the other way around.
In other words, Edmondson grossly reversed cause-and-effect here. Disciples make disciples - it is just that simple. So, you want a church with discipleship and spiritual growth, then may I suggest you get busy being a disciple and making some more. Just learn to roll with the failures. There will be a lot of them.