Gauging how a church is doing- especially in a qualitative way- is often challenging. How do you chart pastoral care, or community building or deepened spirituality? It’s been said that the whole of the New Testament assumes that a Christian is someone who grows toward spiritual maturity. So what does it look and feel like to be mature in Christ? How does a church measure its effectiveness in helping people mature in Christ? Maybe the metrics that most interest us are not what is most important in gauging how a local church is doing.
Certainly, spiritual maturity is fundamental to the gospel.
The pastoral staff at Elim is reading and discussing a book titled, Called to be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity (view on Amazon.ca). Author Gordon T. Smith suggests that to be a Christian is to be a follower, a disciple; it is to respond to the call of God on our lives, an obedience of faith wherein we are drawn into the life of Jesus and deny the life of autonomy and independence from Christ. Something in my reading this morning really stood out to me; Smith suggests that the whole of the Christian life is essentially a response to the love of God in Christ. He writes, “Thus it could easily be said that nothing is so crucial in the Christian life as this: to know, as the benediction of Ephesians puts it, ‘the breadth and length and height and depth’ that is the love of Christ, that is the fullness of God dwelling within us.”
The song writer penned these lyrics:
O love of God how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song
Knowing and dwelling in the reality of God’s love frees us to live in humble dependence on God.