Just over a year ago, I considered the difference between worship attendance and discipleship. Today I am thinking about a related question.
How do you measure life change?
I know, trust and hope that lives are changed through my ministry at Resurrection and the collected life and ministry of this local faith community. But how do you know?
This nagging question keeps coming back to me. It is important that people show up to worship. It is important that people make a decision to join the church. These are measurable and quantifiable. It is much more difficult to measure life change.
The best way that I know how to accomplish this is through story. One person that has experienced life change that is able to tell that story to another person can make it certain that change has happened and continues to take place. I am sometimes blessed to be able to hear these stories. More often I am left wondering about how or if lives are being changed.
I continue to struggle with this question. Maybe I need to trust the life change to God…
What I do know is that life change and sharing that change with others is crucial to the continued vitality of the church of Jesus Christ.
I found Transformational Architecture: Reshaping Our Lives as Narrative
by Ron Martoia to be an excellent book that reaffirms the importance of telling the whole story in scripture when having spiritual conversations with non or nominally religious people. Martoia asserts that a focus on the brokenness of people without telling of the creation of humanity in God’s image is inadequate. Martoia addresses the various aspects of a spiritual conversation including: context, biblical text and human text. He suggests that structuring spiritual conversations based on these three texts will prove more fruitful than focusing on just one of these aspects.
I particularly resonated with Martoia’s understanding that a spiritual journey is best done in a narrative format and that this is the format that we see in scripture. I have not yet read other texts which address this theme as explicitly.
Transformational Archtecture is generally well written, although there are a few tangents that make their way into the text. I will keep this book on my shelf and refer to it again in the future. I suggest it as reading for someone who is interested in spiritual formation and narrative as a way of understanding a spiritual journey.
Throughout the Easter weekend, I had four people wish me “Merry Christmas” after the worship service. I am not making this up.
Although, I must admit that shortly after one of these occasions I managed to wish someone “Merry Easter.”