This is the same diagram used in the DiscipleShift manual and is a great tool in understanding the different stages of spiritual maturity. When sharing the discipleship process, the key is to keep it simple and interactive. If it is taught or made too complicated, people will disengage. This diagram is a simple method of conveying the process to others. This tool can be used in conjunction with the Discipleship Process – The Wheel . As you discuss the stages of growth, be sure to discuss the three roles being played out within each stage:

  • My part – What is my part as the one discipling the other person in each stage?
  • Their part – What is the other person’s part as the one being discipled in each stage?
  • God’s part – What is God’s part in each stage?  How is God working, moving, guiding, drawing and directing throughout the entire process?

Using the Phrases from the Stages diagram and the Discipleship Process – The Wheel diagram (another resource available) is often helpful to those who are more visual learners. The process of spiritual maturity has been divided up into five stages:


SPIRITUALLY DEAD: People in this stage have not yet accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. They may completely reject God, they may be seeking God, they may be “spiritual”, they may even claim to know God or be a Christian, when in reality, they are their own god.

INFANT: People in this stage have accepted Christ, but haven’t moved much past that point. They can be new believers or they might be stagnant, long-time Christians. Life is generally all about them and their needs.

CHILD: People in this stage are growing in their relationship with God and are also beginning to grow in their relationship with other Christians. They are applying God’s Word in their life and allowing others to walk beside them in their journey following Christ. However, it’s still mostly about them – their needs, comfort, etc. 

YOUNG ADULT: People in this stage are making a big shift from being self-centered to more others-centered. They’re beginning to understand their role as a giver, rather than a taker – ministering to others, putting others first – being doers of the Word.

PARENT: People in this stage have a solid understanding of God’s Word and a deep, abiding relationship with the Father. They are living out God’s Word in their daily life. They are others-centered and God-dependent. They are able to reproduce mature disciples of Jesus by inviting others to follow them as they follow Christ.


  • IMPORTANT: This is a tool – a language for leaders. These stages are not designed to label people or to put them in a box.
  • This is a way to assess others and ourselves. It is designed to help us know where people are spiritually so we can know where they need to be and how to help take them there.
  • There is a process of spiritual maturity that people go through. This will vary from person to person. Understand that people are complicated and can be in various stages at different times. 


  • THE 5 STAGES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH – Traits, Phrases & Characteristics (diagram) – Portable Document Format (.pdf file)


“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”  – John 17:4 (NIV) 

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19 (NIV) 

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  – John 17:20-21 (NIV)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

File Type: Portable Document Format (.pdf file)
Target Audience: Young Adult/Adult
Format: Small Group/Home Group/Discipleship Group
Time Frame: n/a


Created by:

Real Life Ministries
1866 N Cecil Road
Post Falls, ID 83854