assess discipleship maturity video

Assess Discipleship Maturity

Assess Discipleship Maturity

Why should we assess discipleship maturity? Let’s start by creating a picture with words. Every disciple-making relationship begins with an evaluation of the disciple’s maturity level. Just like in human relationships, our NextSteps Discipleship Tracking & Equipping Program starts by asking disciples questions to determine their level of maturity. Once a disciple provides a low score response, the questioning stops because the system has identified the disciple’s phase of developmental need. The disciple is then directed to their reports and given recommendations for equipping that match their level of maturity.

Assess Discipleship Across Three Movements

Our question pool assesses discipleship maturity across three major movements. After discussions with pastors and combining our biblical insights, we discovered that within these movements, there are sub-phases. Theologically, we identify these sub-phases as follows:


In total, the question pool assesses discipleship maturity across nine semi-linear sub-phases. These phases are called “semi-linear” because while they represent progression, individuals may find themselves revisiting previous phases due to life experiences. For instance, if the Holy Spirit reveals areas of sin for us to address, we may go through the Contrition, Sanctification, and Transformation process repeatedly until that particular struggle is resolved. Perfection is unattainable in this life, so mature Christians understand that this repeating process is normal and beneficial for spiritual growth.

Assess Discipleship Across Nine Growth Phases

There exist three semi-linear growth phases associated with each of the three movements for assessing discipleship. The chart below depicts the discipleship flow clearly…

Make Disciples by NextSteps Discipleship Phases

Customize the Question Pool

Over the fourteen years of market research David A Posthuma conducted on behalf of developing a discipleship tracking program, it became very clear that no two churches agreed on language nor process for disciple-making. As David dug deeper into this issue, it became clear that these discrepancies occurred because most of the sample church were not actively making disciples. They had adopted  the Passive Discipleship philosophy that simply challenged people to attend Sunday morning services and participate within  an unstructured small group. Passive Discipleship is highly inefficient and does not provide church leaders the information they require to assist each person’s spiritual development. and NextSteps are trying to correct this disciple-making dysfunction within the local church. But if NextSteps was to be usable, it became abundantly clear that the software must be customizable. So we built NextSteps to enable you to tweak the questions, the summary statements, the headings, and reports. (NOTE: Users are strongly encouraged to retain the meanings behind each question or report and make simple textual modifications. Major edits could damage the accuracy of the assessment tool.)

Our Discipleship Assessment Includes Nine Developmental Phases

The NextSteps Discipleship program will assess discipleship maturity across three major phases: Discover, Develop, and Deploy. Each includes three sub-phases. So for example, one person within the Discover phase may have just come to acknowledge that there is a God, while a second person in this group is ready to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. For this reason, we offer nine semi-linear formation phases in all. The graphic below depicts our nine semi-linear phases with their default theological definitions, to assess discipleship maturity. Remember, your church may change our default labels to any title you wish. However, you must retain a 9-phase spiritual growth structure.

assess discipleship maturity

This is the earliest phase of spiritual development when an individual begins to consider the possibility of the existence of a God, and the consequences that this possibility may have upon his/her life.


This is the phase of spiritual development when people are most open to spiritual matters, but are often unsure whether there are many paths to the same God, or if there is only one path to having a relationship with the one true God.


This is the point at which people now recognize that there is only one true God, and the pathway to a relationship with God has been provided for us through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross as our all sufficient atoning sacrifice for our sin-nature and sin-acts. At this point, people are generally ready to express their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.


Now a Christian, he/she is aware that their lifestyle does not reflect Christ’s character. Aware of their sin, they try to work at cleaning-up their lives. But Paul states in Galatians 3:3 – “ Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” The baby-Christian must learn to surrender to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, or become spiritually frustrated by their struggle with sin. He/she begins reading the Bible, likely for the first time. They are hungry to learn, and have many questions.


At this stage, the Christian begins to develop a personal testimony. He or she now experiences the Holy Spirit at work in their lives, freeing them of bondage to sins. However, some sins may be spiritual strongholds that will take time, faith, and perseverance, before freedom in Christ is experienced. This is the stage where the Christian begins to understand basic doctrines, and supportive Biblical reference. Additionally, they often become evangelistic since they have tasted that the Lord is good, and so they begin telling their friends and family.


The developing Christian can now tell people about how different they used to live before faith in Christ, from how they live now. The Fruit of the Spirit is blossoming. Their character more and more reflects Jesus Christ. As the Holy Spirit continues His good work, the Christian’s focus now shifts from self to serve others. They seek to learn about Spiritual Gifts, and to discover how God designed them, and gifted them, to serve. They begin question what their true “calling” and “purpose” may be.


At this stage, the Christian does not yet fully understand their “calling”. Nor do they clearly perceive their giftedness. So, they just want to chip-in and help where they may be useful. They may have an area of personal interest such as children’s or teen ministry, but they do not have a clear sense of what their role within these ministries ought to be. This is the period where other more mature Christians begin to affirm aspects of true giftedness within the Christian, and speak into their lives of their ministry potential.


Having now come to terms with how God designed the Christian to serve Him and others, and now also understanding how God has gifted him or her to serve, it is time to hone and develop their ministry potential. It is generally at this stage where the Christian begins to learn about the various parts of the Body of Christ, and the importance of surrounding oneself with people who are strong where they are weak.


The Christian has not reached perfection. Nor has God completed His work developing the Christian. But it is at this stage that the Christian can truly say: “God put me on this planet, at this time in history, at this geographical location, to accomplish this specific ministry mission“. Additionally, the Christian, at this stage, will become an important member of a ministry team, and will likely also begin mentoring and developing up-and-coming ministry leaders.

To view and end-user’s sample NextSteps Formation Phase Report, please select the button to the right.