What is the Engel Scale?

HomeChristianity and the BibleWhat is the Engel Scale?

If you ask a bunch of people how they came to faith in Jesus, you’ll hear a bunch of different stories. No two explanations are exactly alike. Still, it’s helpful to understand what all of those stories might have in common.

James F. Engel earned a PhD in marketing, and spent considerable time studying the behavior of consumers. During his 18 years as Chair of the Communications Department at Wheaton College, he developed an explanation of the process of spiritual maturity.

It’s easier to understand by looking at it than to try to explain it:

        -8 Awareness of supreme being, no knowledge of Gospel
       -7 Initial awareness of Gospel
      -6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel
     -5 Grasp implications of Gospel
    -4 Positive attitude towards Gospel
   -3 Personal problem recognition
  -2 Decision to act
 -1 Repentance and faith in Christ
New birth
 +1 Post-decision evaluation
  +2 Incorporation into Body
   +3 Conceptual and behavioral growth
    +4 Communion with God
     +5 Stewardship

While every faith story is different, these steps appear to be part of each. Not everybody begins at the top, and – unfortunately – not everybody makes it to the bottom. This is not to be seen as a list of rules, but a guide that helps us understand what being born again looks like. The video below should be helpful.

How do I use the Engel Scale? Simple: I use it all the time, with everybody I meet. My goal for every relationship in my life is to encourage each person to trust God with more and more of their own life. If they are only aware of the basic story of Jesus, I want them to understand the fundamentals of the gospel, and to grasp what it means to them. If they’re already born again, I work to encourage them to continue moving toward maturity.

For my friends and family who are believers, that may only mean that I take part in their lives. By being in a stable, ongoing, encouraging relationship with them, I can be helpful. As a teacher in my local congregation, I work to challenge and encourage others to be an active part of God’s family, to consider their roles in God’s Kingdom, and to put into practice Jesus’ instructions to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.

I’d like to encourage you to find yourself on the Engel Scale. Have you decided to take God seriously? Are you already born again, but need some serious growth? Do you work to put God first in everything? Wherever you are, I’m here to help you if I can. The goal is simple: for you to know the love and joy and peace that I found in a personal relationship with the One who created you.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions, or if you need help figuring out your next step.


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