Four-Stage Model

The Four-Stage Model. Explore | Implement | Benefit


What is the Four-Stage Model?

Regardless of country, culture, geography or history, churches go through similar and predictable phases on their way to becoming healthy and reproductive. The Four-Stage Development Model identifies the common landmarks that local churches pass on their way to maturity. It provides practical definitions for the various elements that enable a church to function well throughout its development. As the name implies, the Four-Stage Development Model identifies four phases of progressive maturity. Those stages are not rigid or precise definitions. Rather, they are broad categories like “childhood” or “adolescence.” Take a few moments to read more about the four individual stages, as well as stories of each individual stage in action.


Watch a video about what the Four-Stage Model means to you.

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Read Daniel Brown’s article “Four-Stage Model: Latest Style or Lasting Strategy.”

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Read the book that started it all: Disciples of all Nations by John Amstutz.

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Stage 1: Disciples (Pioneer)

The church starts when workers bring the lost to Christ and plant local congregations. The goal is responsible disciples who evangelize and reproduce themselves. The church at Thessalonica in Greece started this way (Acts 17:1-9; 1 Thess. 1:1-10).



Stage 2: Leaders (Establish)

The church grows stronger when leaders give practical Christian teaching and train more leaders. The goal is responsible, reproducing leaders who serve their families and the local church.



Stage 3: Churches (Empower)

The national church organizes to govern and support itself and to do its own evangelism in a way that is sensitive to local cultures. The goal is responsible local congregations that plant other churches. Together they become a national church movement to reach the entire country. The church at Ephesus in Turkey developed and multiplied this way (Acts 19-20).



Stage 4: Movements (Send)

The national church reaches out to people of other cultures and languages. The goal is responsible national churches that send and support workers who serve other cultures and countries, and create movements of their own. In obedience to the Holy Spirit, the church at Antioch in Syria became such a church when they sent Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-4).