Institution Granting Degree
Fuller Theological Seminary
A criticism often heard concerning the Church Growth movement is that it emphasizes quantity growth to the supposed neglect of quality growth. One explanation for this neglect is that presently there exists no effective instrument by which quality growth in a church can be measured. The absence of such a measuring instrument can be attributed to many reasons. Some of the problems inherent in developing such an instrument are: 1) the fact that the universalness of a measuring tool is limited by . denominational barriers; 2) the issues of "judging." subjectivity, commitment, and the "quality vs. quantity" debate; 3) what variables are to be used in order to measure the level of spiritual maturity; and, 4) what kind of survey is needed to adequately measure spiritual maturity in a church.
The age old quest for measuring spiritual quality is likewise researched. This is accomplished by using the Anabaptist, the Puritans, the Pietists and the Methodists as historical examples of how spiritual standards have been established from generation to generation. The more recent 20th century sociological and psychological attempts to accomplish this same goal are also explored.
But these efforts at measuring spiritual maturity are found lacking in one manner or another. The author seeks to establish a measuring tool that is both simple to use and accurate in its measurements. The resulting instrument is the Spiritual Life Survey (5LS).
The SLS consists of twelve qualities that are biblically based as well as scientifically field tested in order to ascertain a rating of importance for each variable. By responding to 60 statements, the participant rates his or her involvement in each of the twelve areas. The survey also has a scoring grid by which the respondent grades and compares him- or herself with a national average. The SLS was field tested seven times under various conditions and in different forms before taking its final shape. Subsequent statistical and content analysis supports the thesis that the SL5 is an adequate tool by which spiritual maturity can be measured in a church within the twelve categories covered in the survey.
Smith, Fred H., "Measuring Quality Church Growth" (1985). Faculty Dissertations. 94.