This pattern that can be seen within the establishment of the Christadelphians is typical of most reforming movements and sects and follows the following steps:
Established traditions and church authority is rejected. A basis for reform is suggested, which in the case of the Christadelphians was the Bible alone and independence of thought. There is a call for reform, pointing out traditions, the status quo and institutionalisation. This can be shown to be the driving force of the challenge John Thomas presented to the churches of his day. The reformation they sought he claimed never went far enough.
Some form of organisation is recognised as necessary with systems and procedures established. These become more and more complex with time as various difficulties and situations emerge.
This is when a church is no longer true to the principles connected with its initial establishment and has adopted many of the principles and systems it initially rejected. At this stage it has developed a status quo and its own set of traditions which determine its thinking. It becomes hard to change and often has many internal contradictions. However these become difficult to confront because it enters a state of denial about them. At this stage it becomes ripe for reform.
At this stage the movement becomes in danger of decay as it has developed too many internal contradictions that have become ingrained. In addition many of its own members also cannot overlook inherent weaknesses, although they may not voice them. The difficulty is that the movement can lack the will, honesty or mechanisms to recognise and tackle the elements which hold it back. They can become institutions that go through motions and procedures which no longer are congruent to the concerns and issues of its members. The movement starts to lose adherents and struggles to gain more.