Sunday worship attendance, small groups participation, numbers baptized, and money given are all effective measurements of church health. But they don’t measure spiritual health or spiritual growth. They don’t measure matters of the heart, or tell us whether someone is maturing in their faith walk.
In recent years several Christian churches and organizations have embarked on in-depth spiritual growth studies that resulted in tools to assist the local church in measuring the question of whether their congregation is really growing closer to Christ as a result of their efforts. Below is a brief overview of three of the most popular spiritual growth assessment and survey tools.
The Transformational Discipleship Assessment, http://tda.lifeway.com/, provides individuals or groups with the ability to assess their current status in eight different areas of discipleship. Knowing where you are is the first step toward taking proactive steps in your spiritual growth.
Through extensive testing (the largest research project of its kind ever done), the LifeWay Research team has discovered that certain factors are at work in the lives of believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity. They are referred to as the attributes of discipleship:
- Bible Engagement
- Obeying God and Denying Self
- Serving God and Others
- Sharing Christ
- Exercising Faith
- Seeking God
- Building relationships
- Unashamed (Transparency)
These eight attributes are biblical factors that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer. The TDA measures these 8 attributes plus basic doctrinal beliefs. Immediately after taking the TDA, the individual receives a report with recommendations in areas where improvement is needed. The leader for the church receives detailed results on the strengths and weaknesses of the congregation as a whole, with clear next steps to improve discipleship where needed most.
The study also found that certain kinds of behavior led to people growing in these attributes. Among them: Confessing our sins; Reading the Bible; Praying for non-believers.
This simple online tool helps the church leader know where to focus in sermons, Bible studies, events, and other disciple-building activities. And it helps individuals and groups learn to take responsibility for their own discipleship. It provides next steps that groups or individuals can take to improve their discipleship in any of the eight attributes as well as doctrinal beliefs.
The Reveal Spiritual Life Survey, http://revealforchurch.com/about/, is a proven benchmark for spiritual growth in a congregation developed by Willow Creek Community Church. Using data gleaned from hundreds of churches, this online survey moves beyond the typical measures of attendance and financial giving to determine if your church is really helping people become more like Christ.
Churches that use the Spiritual Life Survey receive an in-depth understanding of their congregants’ spiritual attitudes, motivations, behaviors, and satisfaction. The survey allows church leaders to track, over time, the movement of their congregation toward Christ and to see if ministry efforts and resource allocation are really contributing to spiritual health.
The Reveal Study research showed 25 factors as the most influential catalysts of spiritual growth.
Eight Spiritual Beliefs and Attitudes
Salvation by Grace
Christ is First
Authority of the Bible
Identity in Christ
Giving Away My Life
Six Church Activities
Serve the Church
Serve Those in Need through My Church
Adult Education Classes Focused on Spiritual Topics
Seven Personal Spiritual Practices
Reflection on Scripture
Prayer to Seek Guidance
Prayer to Confess Sins
Four Spiritual Practices with Others
Serving Those in Need on My Own
The Christian Life Profile Assessment Tool, https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Life-Profile-Assessment-Workbook, was created by Randy Frazee, Senior Pastor of Oak Hills Community Church in San Antonio, TX. Using a rigorous process of biblical inquiry, Frazee found 11 core repeatable characteristics of a follower of Christ. The Christian Life Assessment Tool assesses where people are spiritually by asking them how strongly they agree with the following statements:
- Salvation by Grace: I believe nothing I do or have done can earn my salvation.
- The Trinity: I believe the God of the Bible is the one true God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Personal God: I believe God is actively involved in my life.
- Christ is First: I desire Jesus to be first in my life.
- Authority of the Bible: I believe the Bible has decisive authority over what I say and do.
- Identity in Christ: I exist to know, love, and serve God.
- Stewardship: I believe a Christian’s life should not be driven by the pursuit of material things.
- Giving Away My Life: I am willing to risk everything that is important in my life for Jesus Christ.
- Giving Away My Faith: I pray for non-Christians to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
- Giving Away My Time: I give away my time to serve and help others in my community.
- Giving Away My Money: My first priority in spending is to support God’s work.
Posted on August 8, 2017