reflectingJesus | 5 stages of transformation for teachers
christian formation, spiritual formation, discipleship, prayer, bible study methods, mission, witness, how to, spirituality, spiritual, christian, christianity, lessons, study, guide,
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Consider using the One Ambition lessons which are built around this model. These lessons also explain these stages in much greater biblical detail

Restoring the image of God

A transformational model for Bible teachers & leaders



This is a 5 stage process for discipleship that you can use with your students. It describes 5 essential stages that a student should be growing in every day. So not only are students moving around the cycle, but are deepening in their understanding of each stage over time.


Notice that the stages of discipleship are to develop intimate communion with Jesus. As this happens, they will be “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is not only the focus of this life, but also into eternity.

key questions


Before a lesson / programme


  1. How is my lesson/programme designed to foster maturity in one or more of these areas?
  2. How is my lesson/programme designed to move a person to the next stage?


After teaching/programme


What evidence did I see of


    1. People maturing in one or more of these areas?
    2. People moving to the next stage?


1 Opennessbiblical foundations


As we see in the life of Pharaoh (Exodus 7:13) and even Jesus’ own disciples (Mark 8:17), nothing can happen in an individual’s life unless they are open to God. By nature, we do not desire openness with God (Romans 3:10-12). So from the beginning, God has always initiated communion (Genesis 3:8-9). People’s spiritual journey begins as they open themselves to God’s initiative for relationship. This enables them to move towards the place where they have the possibility to “contemplate the Lord’s glory” (Psalm 27:4) and therefore become “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

questions for teachers & leaders


  • What causes people to become closed to God—even as Christians, and what causes them to become open?
  • If God initiates communion with people, how can you as a teacher or leader foster environments where people will become open to God?
  • What evidence indicates that people you work with are open or closed to God?

2 Faithbiblical foundations


Faith can only take root once people are open to God. A growing faith indicates a growing commitment to Jesus. Broken people cannot change themselves. Only God can transform. So learning to trust God—believing what He has promised—is foundational to all transformation. Without faith we cannot be transformed (Matthew 13:58), nor can we please God (Hebrews 11:6).

questions for teachers & leaders


  • Everything comes from God, even faith (Romans 12:3). Therefore, how can you as a teacher or leader foster growing faith through what you are planning?
  • What evidence indicates that people you are working with are growing in faith?
The teacher's greatest longing—``My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you`` (Galatians 4:19).

3 dying to selfbiblical foundations


Without faith, people will not be willing to devote everything they have and are to God and commit to putting to death their sinful nature (Romans 6:3-7). Yet total abandonment, becoming a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) is unavoidable if we are “to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Indeed, Jesus’ call to die daily is the doorway into a life of missionary discipleship (Luke 9:23).

questions for teachers & leaders


  • How would you explain to your participants how people die to self?
  • How can you as a teacher or leader model being “a living sacrifice” to those you lead?
  • What evidence indicates that people you work with are increasingly dying to the sinful self?
Article: how to die to self

4 Baptism of the Holy Spiritbiblical foundations


The Holy Spirit fills the space that is created by the death of the sinful nature. Divine fire fell on sacrifices in the tabernacle and temple (Leviticus 9:24, 2 Chronicles 7:1). The Holy Spirit fell upon Jesus after he came up out of His watery grave at His baptism and upon the disciples humbling themselves in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4). So as people learn to become “living sacrifices”, devoting themselves utterly to God, Jesus will baptise them with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33). This baptism of the Holy Spirit is critical if we are to have a ministry and influence that reveals supernatural power.

questions for teachers & leaders


  • How would you explain to your participants what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, and how it can be received?
  • Why do you think John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit—in every Gospel?
  • How can you as a teacher or leader guard yourself from teaching and leading without being filled with Divine power?
  • What evidence indicates that people are filled with the Spirit?
Ebook on dying to self and the baptism of the Holy Spirit

5 Missionbiblical foundations


When you are baptised by the Holy Spirit, the mission you pursue for God will be characterised by His supernatural power (See the consequences of the Holy Spirit coming on Jesus in Luke 3:21—Luke 4:19). Your efforts will not simply be the sum of what you can do, but of what God can do (Zechariah 4:6). God will send people to you to help because He knows you are trustworthy—someone who is truly working in harmony with Him and His character—because you are depending on His power to serve.

questions for teachers & leaders


  • It is too easy to teach about God in a way that your content remains only as information in people’s minds without re-shaping their practice. How will you teach/plan in so that mission with divine power will actually be accomplished?
  • What evidence will you look for that reveals that mission is happening in the lives of those you are leading, and that this mission reveals supernatural power rather than simply human activity?
Article on the need for divinely transformed missionaries