The Simple Rule


The Simple Rule is a tool for friends who wish to share the journey of faith and exploration for a time. It provides a framework to deepen your conversation with God through every aspect of life. The Simple Rule is an agreement to explore that conversation by  pursuing…

  • The Way of Love
  • The Way of Oneness
  • The Way of Simplicity
  • The Way of Soul Friendship

These are the 4 Streams of the Simple Rule. Using the Simple Rule for a season means making an agreement with friends to open up the flow of those four streams in your own life. The Simple Rule begins with a question to a friend:

“It is my intention to grow in the way of love, the way of oneness, the way of simplicity and the way of soul-friendship. Brother/Sister, can you and I help each other do these things?”


The Way of Love is about:

  • Love for God – a desire to enjoy connection the Source of the Cosmos
  • Love for People – made real in kindness, hospitality, solidarity and justice

The Way of Oneness seeks…

  • To know God more and more truly
  • To keep learning and letting God lead onto new territory
  • To live by Jesus’ teaching – in thought, word and deed
  • To allow ourselves to be guided and changed by the Holy Spirit
  • To enjoy connection with God with the help of tools such as solitude, prayer, song,  Bible-reading, study and giving attention to the Spirit of God

The Way of Simplicity means living a life that is; not greedy, sustainable, healthy and slow enough for me to…

  • Love and Serve my Family/Household
  • Be available to others  in my Natural Network
  • Enjoy serving others with my own resources and abilities 

The Way of Soul Friendship is about sharing the journey with friends who are:

  • ready to talk honestly, be real and non-judgey, hearing each other out
  • hungry and thirsty for truth, reality, and whatever if possible
  • willing and able to re-think together how the Scriptures may be understood and applied


If you are hungry for these things then The Simple Rule gives you a framework and tools for:

  • friends sharing the journey of faith beyond current faith community structures
  • a small fellowship group within a church
  • a group-house or clustered community
  • a basis for spiritual coaching or mentoring

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Choose friends who share your same hunger for the 4 Streams of the Simple Rule. As a guide to best size for a Simple Cell, 3 is a great number for depth and accountability. 5 is a great number for a conversation. A group bigger than 8 will struggle maintaining a single conversation. Single gender cells often facilitate deeper sharing. 


You can meet up monthly or fortnightly, according to your needs and circumstances. If possible, every time you meet together gather around a meal, talk, pray and contemplate together. I have learned that regularly eating a full meal together is the most powerful way of progressively deepening your relationships. Make a finite commitment in terms of continuing with the cell. I suggest trying out the Simple Rule for 12 months and then reviewing.

NB It is normal for a close community like a Simple Cell, to struggle at the 18-month mark. This is because that’s when you really start to encounter each other’s edges! It’s helpful to know that 18 months to 3 years is very often the period when an intentional fellowship like a Simple Cell does its best “soul-work” and makes the most significant progress. 



The Toolkit is an evolving hard copy resource providing simple tools, exercises and strategies for strengthening the 4 Streams in your life. It includes disciplines drawn from the breadth of the Christian tradition, from ancient to postmodern, East to West. 

For the Simple Rule Starter Kit

If your simple cell meets monthly and uses a different tool each time, this will keep you going for 24 months...


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PS…throughout Christian history friend-to-friend rules of life like this are often found by post-institutional believers, seeking simpler ways of connecting with God, more meaningful ways of belonging to one another and more intentional ways of shaping life around the Gospel. You may therefore have friends on the edge of or beyond the church-scene who would engage with you in the Simple Rule. Many powerful spiritual movements tarted up when small groups of believing friends made these kinds of “agreements”, “rules of life” or “covenants.” The term “rule of life” has its roots in monastic soil. For stories of some amazing historical movements that began this way, take a look at the“Simple Rule Inspirations.” 

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“Be yourself as God intended you to be and you will set the world on fire!”

(Catherine of Siena)