Moody Bible Institute’s annual Bible conference is being hosted this week with great speakers including Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, Jill Briscoe, and more. Today’s post is from Thrive80 relating the teaching of Gene Getz. You can listen to any of the conference sessions here.
As an Alumnus of Moody Bible Institute, author of more than 60 books including The Measure of a Man, and host of Moody Radio program Renewal, I was excited to hear Gene Getz speak.
Can you measure a church’s health? How can we gauge our growth? Numbers, programs, familiarity?
Getz brought us to 1 Thess. 1:2 (also mirrored in Col.1:4). As Paul addresses a letter to the Thessalonian church he thanks God for three areas of growth that they were thriving in:
- Their work of faith
- Their labor of love
- Their endurance of hope
The degree to which faith, hope and love are reflected in a community of believers will be the sign of measurable growth.
Getz brought us to Ephesians to look at two different kinds of faith that are mentioned in the Bible: saving faith and works of faith. These well-known verses in Ephesians 2:8-10 give us an example of both. By grace you are saved through faith (Saving faith) – Unto good works prepared beforehand by God (Works of faith) They are related; because we are saved by grace, there is a certain way in which we are to walk.
Work of Faith = Measurable
Gene directed us to 2 Thessalonians where Paul greets his recipients by thanking God for their love, faith, and … wait, hope is missing. Why did Paul leave out their growth in hope?
As you read down a few chapters, it is clear. They doubted the coming of the Lord. Some thought He had come already, creating confusion. Paul needs to build their hope through proper teaching. He had measured it, and it was found lacking.
Endurance of Hope = Measurable
To measure love, Getz brought us to the love chapter of the Bible, 1 Cor. 13. Since, in this chapter, he was instructing the Corinthians on a lack of love, it’s a fair question to ask: “How did Paul address the Corinthians at the start of this letter?”
There is no praise recorded at all. No faith. No hope. No love. The Corinthians were a mess. The only thing that Paul could find to be thankful for was grace—God’s grace to them.
Getz brought up an interesting point: “There is no correlation between spiritual gifting and maturity.”
The Corinthian church had been given much gifting. This was the grace that Paul thanked God for at the start of the letter. They spoke in tongues, and prophesied, yet did it without love. They lacked the measurable maturity of love and so had nothing. This is evidenced as Paul lists (1 Cor.13:4-7) all the qualities of love, and Paul had just spent 11 chapters explaining to them how they were lacking in each of them. Their focus was misdirected. The Corinthian church viewed gifting as the measure of maturity instead of love.
Labor of Love = Measurable
So that’s it. Faith. Hope. Love.
When measuring a gathering of believers, we must look at how they measure up to the full measure of Christ in faith, hope and love—above all, love. All three of these are measurable.
If Paul wrote a letter to your church, what would the greeting praise you for? Do you have a measuring of hope, faith, and love? Or would he merely thank God for His grace toward you?
Paul probably wouldn’t say, “I thank God for your programs,” or “I thank God that your pastor is on TV.” These can be great, but when measuring growth in a church, look at three things: Faith. Hope. Love.