Home Small Group Leaders Small Group Leaders Blogs 5 Stages of Spiritual Growth… Stage 1, The Spiritually Dead

5 Stages of Spiritual Growth… Stage 1, The Spiritually Dead

Making disciples who make disciples should be the goal of every church on planet earth. Jesus demanded it (“Go therefore and make disciples…”), Paul did it (“What I have taught you pass on to reliable men who will then tell others”) and we are to do the same. It is through the making of disciples that churches become more than clubs for a societal sub-group, church goers. And it is through disciple-making that truth and the gospel are passed on from generation to generation.

There is one church that I know of doing this, really. Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho is truly making disciples who make disciples. One of the key components of the training they give their disciple-makers/small group leaders is an understanding of the five stages of spiritual growth and how to disciple someone who is in any particular stage. The five stages are, 1) The Spiritually Dead, 2) The Spiritual Infant, 3) The Spiritual Child, 4) The Spiritual Young Adult, 5) The Spiritual Parent.

Each day this week I’ll be sharing with you what characterizes someone in each of the stages. The first stage is, The Spiritually Dead, someone who is not yet a follower of Christ. All of this can be found in the Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual, the training manual used to train small group leaders/disciple-makers at Real Life Ministries.

A little explanation… “The Phrase from the Stage” is a list of phrases that are often used by people in that particular stage. This helps a disciple-maker to evaluate and conclude which stage a person is in.

1. Characterizing the Spiritually Dead: Unbelief and Rebellion(Ephesians 2:1 – 5)

a. Living in “your transgression and sins”

b. Following “the ways of this world”

c. Following “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”

d. “Gratifying the cravings of (your) sinful nature”

e. “Following (the) desires and thoughts” of your sinful nature

2. The Phrase from the Stage

a. “I don’t believe there is a God”

b. “The Bible is just a bunch of myths.”

c. “God is just a crutch.”

d. “I am not a Christian because religion is responsible for most of the wars in history.”

e. “There are many ways to God.”

f. “There is no hell because God is a God of love.”

g. “I have been a good person, so I will be okay.”

h. “There is no absolute right or wrong.”

i. “I’ll take my chances with the man upstairs.”

3. The Spiritually Dead’s Needs

a. An explanation of the gospel

b. To see the gospel lived out

c. Answers to their questions about the Bible, God, Christianity and so on

d. An invitation to receive Christ

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.