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5 Stages of Spiritual Growth… Stage 5, The Spiritual Parent

Each day this week I’m giving you information from the Real Life Discipleship Training Manual used at Real Life Ministries.

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.

The fifth stage is The Spiritual Parent. This person has been nurtured and trained to disciple others. It is at this point that a disciple becomes a disciple-maker.

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 Spiritual Parent

a. They reproduce disciples

b. They feed themselves

c. They value the church team


2. The Phrase from the Stage

a. “This guy at work asked me to go explain the Bible him. Pray for me.”

b. “We get to baptize someone from our small group tonight. When is the next 101 class? I want to get her plugged into ministry somewhere.”

c. “Our small group is going on a mission trip, and I have given each person a different responsibility.”

d. “I realized discipleship happens at home, too. Will you hold me accountable to spend time discipling my kids?”

e. “I have a person in my small group who is passionate about children. Can you have the children’s ministry people call me?”


3. The Spiritual Parent’s Needs

a. Ongoing relationships with other disciple-makers

b. A church family – discipling people as part of a team

c. Peer accountability and encouragement

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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.