Cultivate, Measure, Celebrate

Measuring is something that we tend to be afraid of. We feel that it is so corporate, so business like, so unspiritual.

If measurement is unspiritual, why in Acts 2:41 – does it count the believers who were added to the body at Pentecost? Because measurement is required for celebration.

When God talks about the harvest, He doesn't talk about a puny, pathetic, barely able to keep us alive harvest, He talks about abundance. If God is talking about an abundant harvest, why are we satisfied with puny, mediocre, adequate harvest? How can we tell the difference?

All of the words that I used to describe the harvest are words of measurement. When the harvest is abundant, we celebrate. We celebrate the works of God in delivering a bountiful harvest. How do we know whether the harvest is bountiful or mediocre? We measure it.

Is measuring fruit biblical? I think it is. I am not talking about measuring incidentals, but real fruit. Incidentals are things that may or may not correlate with real fruit. BIPs is an incidental measurement – what are BIPs? Butts In Pews. Sunday morning attendance is not a good measure of fruit. You can get more people to attend by putting on a good show, than by preaching the truth of the gospel. Small group attendance is not a good measure of fruit. You can have a lot of small groups and many people attending, but no discipleship or personal growth.

So how do you measure evangelistic fruit? How do you measure discipleship fruit? The measure is more about completion than showing up.

How many people made decisions for Christ? How many were baptized? How many completed a "foundations of the faith" class. How many completed a 2 year intensive discipleship program. How many are serving on a regular basis? How many are serving out of their giftedness? How many have met the qualifications of deacon or elder? How many have been sent into a mission field?

I would be willing to wager that your church or ministry does not keep great statistics about these things. So how can your congregation celebrate the fruit if they are not aware that it is being cultivated? The celebration of God's results is where we rejoice in the evidence that God is alive and at work in our midst. It is when we all get to say, "If God can do that for [him/her] He could do it for me? Our faith is encouraged, and we are challenged when we see God at work in the lives of others.

There is nothing better than counting the fruit to inspire us to participate in the harvest!