Five Stages of Christian School Maturity


The article "Going Deeper: The 5 Stages of Christian School Maturity" by Shaun Brooker explores the journey of Christian schools towards maturity and excellence. Brooker outlines five stages of school development based on his studies. Each stage represents a different level of "authentic Christian education" which directly influences their maturity and effectiveness in fulfilling the school's mission. School growth must include an intentional application of biblical principles at every level of the school culture and practice. There will also be some aspects where small parts of these concepts are experienced early, but generally, the stages are very linear, and most Christian schools stop somewhere on the continuum of authenticity.

He takes time to describe these 5 stages of authentic Christian education using these titles:

  1. Involving Christian Teachers - A school with Christians. (A Christian Educating)
  2. Isolated Christian Activities - Education with a side of Jesus. (Christian, then Education)
  3. Integrated Christian Curriculum - Let me tell you about Jesus. (An Educator Explaining Christian)
  4. Intentional Christian Pedagogy - Let me show you Jesus. (A Christian Educator)
  5. Invasive Christian Vision - Taking every ‘thought’ captive for Christ. (A Christian Education)


Brooker emphasizes the importance of understanding where a school currently resides on this continuum and provides practical questions for working with leadership and governance teams to evaluate and deepen the level of authenticity. His fear is that "Christian schools that stop short of all five stages risk students who find Christianity to be hypocritical, irrelevant, dualistic and all about rules. They will be schools that graduate young people that know how to look Christian but are not transformed; young people who know about Christ, but do not know Him."

growthTo guide their schools towards the next stage of implementation, Christian school leaders can discuss the following questions:

  1. At what stage of authenticity do we want our school to operate? Are we satisfied with the spiritual growth and commitment that we generally see in our student body or is there something missing? Taking time to evaluate our programs is the goal here, not evaluating individual students. If we are a school that values and prioritizes spiritual growth, we must take time to evaluate each program which influences that growth from our sports programs and after school activities to our history and mathematics courses. Surveys and quality interviews with students, parents, alumni and teachers can help with this process of evaluation.
  2. What foundational aspects are missing in order for our school to move to the next level? We may be providing authentic Christian education at some level or in some areas, but we may not be able to move to the next level without intentional commitment to spiritual growth from all of our teachers and staff. How will we model spiritual growth as school leaders and create a culture of spiritual growth for our teachers and students? How will a shift in culture impact what we do in and out of the classroom?


Take time to review the article and evaluate with your team where you are and how you will deepen the application of your vision for authentic Christian education. ACSI Europe provides tools for the process of self-assessment and strategic goal setting for our community of member schools though the Christian School Improvement Platform.


This is a summary of the article by Shaun Brooker at  

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