Sure, spiritual growth is very personal, often unpredictable, and difficult to put into words. But it is really not as hard to measure as we may think. Count how many new small group leaders are moving through the process of identification, apprenticing, and starting new groups. Count how many members … adherents … and newcomers are regularly participating in classes, cell groups, and triads for prayer and learning. Count how often the continuing education budget for laity is used … and how significantly it is growing. Track the progress of adult church members through spiritual gifts discernment, mentoring to identify call or personal mission, and volunteering in mission.
Your mission is what you measure! Here are some helpful targets for growing churches. 60% of the participants in worship should show up later in the week in some form of small group. Balance 50/50 curriculum-based groups (like Bible Study, doctrinal study, or book study) with affinity-based groups (around shared enthusiasms or needs). Of the affinity-based groups, aim for 1/3 to focus on internal activities; 1/3 to focus on external service; and 1/3 to focus on intervention or recovery. 40% of the people in all small groups should show up later that year in some hands-on outreach ministry.
The Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are a guide to self-examination in all teams of staff and volunteers, and in focus groups within the congregation. Are you more loving; more joyous; more at peace with others and in your own mind; more patient with family, church members, work colleagues, and total strangers; more kind to people in need; more aware of justice and righteousness; more faithful in worship attendance, faith witness, and lifestyle risk for Christ; more gentle toward the innocent, the helpless, or victims; more in control of your emotions, behavior, and attitudes … than we were last month, last September, or last year? Add this inventory to your choir rehearsals, board meetings, and team gatherings, congregational retreats …