God, in Jesus Christ, has invited us into abundant life and right relationship. This invitation is given in the life, death, resurrection and indwelling presence of Jesus.
Jesus invites us to follow him (John 1), and promises to give us the power to do all that we’ve seen him do (John 14). Our response to this loving invitation lies in our choosing to follow Jesus and growing in the likeness of God’s character. This is an active, ongoing choice. The results of this choosing are described in “the mentored life.” The mentored life is a vision of the life of a disciple who is learning to live and love like Jesus. None of us have fully attained this life, but it is our promised reality toward which we live. It is possible because of God’s grace and our Holy Spirit-inspired and -empowered effort. Without a destination, how will we know where to go?
With you in the journey,
The Mentored Life is the product of an unfolding process. It began with a guiding spiritual rule I wrote at the prompting at the Holy Spirit. A daily devotional followed, expanding the concepts of the Mentored Life, and then a study guide was created to teach these concepts.
In the spring of 2005 I was charged with rethinking the concept of membership for the church at which I was spiritual formation pastor. At the time I was on a personal retreat and studying the rule of St. Benedict. This got me thinking...What if our church community had a rule we all agreed to live by as our guide for membership? What could a person who committed to be a member of our community expect from the association? And what would be expected of the person who decided to join and travel through life with this local body of believers? I picked up my laptop computer and wrote the Mentored Life Rule; free association, no word-smithing or deep processing, just flow of thought. It took about an hour and after I finished it, I closed my laptop and put it away for a while. (I was on a personal retreat and not supposed to be working, right?)
A few days later I reread the rule and thought, “Hey, this could be good for our church community.” So I shared it with the other leaders of our church and all agreed it was a great description of the life of a follower of Jesus.
The rule as it currently exists was the first draft. I didn’t change a word of it from the hour of its creation. Any writer knows that there is no such thing as a first draft being the final draft. This was. That’s why I feel it was a gift of the Holy Spirit working through me. I was just the scribe.
The Mentored Life rule consists of a prologue that introduces the idea and the promise of allowing the life and person of Jesus to be our tutor and then seven paragraphs describing character qualities of Jesus Christ that a person could expect to have realized in their own life as they allow him to mentor them in the life of discipleship.
As a church we decided to preach a series of sermons based on this rule. This inspired me to write the daily devotional, The Mentored Life, a guide to living and loving like Jesus, so that our church community could, as a whole, put into practice the teaching we received from the pulpit on Sunday.
The Mentored Life was well received and people wanted further exposure to the means of grace introduced in the rule and the devotional. So I wrote a study guide that used both Old and New Testament narratives to support and teach the principles described in the original Mentored Life rule.
Since its creation in 2005 the daily devotional has had 4 publications. 7000 copies of it have been printed and distributed to individuals and churches around the world, all who have heard of it through word of mouth. Many people use the guide as their personal devotional. Several churches have used the curriculum as their primary discipleship tool. While living in Paris, France and attending an International church, I taught this material to people from every continent; Europeans, Asians, Africans, Australians and North and South Americans all found it relevant and respectful of their cultures and mindsets.
The Mentored Life is not about Western Christianity, it is not about doctrine, it is not about any particular church denomination. Its purpose is to ground believers in the truth of whom we are, in whom we trust, and in what we hope. It is a kind and gracious invitation to a life of discipleship. With each reading of the rule, new insight is gained; like the Bible, as you mature spiritually, the Mentored Life meets your deeper, more mature spiritual need.
This is an organic, grass roots movement. It harkens to the simplicity of Thomas a Kempis’ THE IMITATION OF CHRIST. It is easily understood and allows one to immediately apply practices of the spiritual life while allowing mind and heart to receive the instruction and the encouragement of God’s word. It is the product of my spiritual formation by the likes of Dallas Willard, St. Ignatius, Hannah Whittall Smith, George MacDonald and obviously, St. Benedict.
The Mentored Life’s audience is for the one who has decided to follow Jesus and needs guidance in order to do so.
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A small group contemplative study on following the good shepherd. Beginning January, 2023.