The Simple Rule


The Simple Rule is a tool for friends who wish to share the journey of faith for a time. It provides a framework to strengthen your connection with Jesus, and deepen your conversation with God. God’s Kingdom impacts every aspect of our lives. The Simple Rule is an agreement to respond to God’s call by  pursuing…

The Way of Love

The Way of Worship

The Way of Simplicity

The Way of Soul Friendship

These are called the Four 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:

“Because of the love of Jesus, I want to grow in the way of love, the way of worship, 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 – with heart, soul, mind and strength
  • Love for People – made real in kindness, hospitality, solidarity and justice
  • Love of the Gospel – made real by sharing Jesus with others who have not heard, and discipling people in the ways of Jesus

The Way of Worship seeks…

  • To know God more and more truly
  • To keep learning and following God onto new territory
  • To practise Jesus’ teaching – in thought, word and deed
  • To be guided and changed by the Holy Spirit
  • A powerful connection with God through solitude, prayer, song and Bible-reading

The Way of Simplicity means living a life that is not greedy; that is 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 and God with the Gifts he has given me 

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

  • can be Real and Talk Honestly together
  • are Hungry and Thirsty for more of God
  • are willing to  Think and re-think together how the Scriptures may be Understood and Applied



If you are hungry for these things then The Simple Rule can give you tools for:

  • friends sharing the journey of faith beyond current church 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 Four Streams of the Simple Rule. As a guide to numbers for a Simple Cell, 3 is a great number for depth and accountability. 5 is a great number for a conversation. If your simple cell is more than 8 in number and you may need to break into sub-groups for conversation, as a single group bigger than 8 will struggle maintaining a single conversation. You may find that single gender cells facilitate some deeper sharing. If you go that way you may want to cluster simple cells together from time to time to enjoy mixed fellowship.


You might choose to meet monthly or fortnightly, according to your needs and circumstances. If possible, every time you meet together gather around a meal, talk and pray together. Eating a full meal together is the most powerful way of progressively deepening your relationships. Don’t make too long a commitment at first. I recommend that you agree to try out the Simple Rule for 12 months at a time and then review.

A note for when you review: It is normal for something 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! At that time it will be helpful for you to know that 18 months to 3 years is very often the period when an intentional fellowship like a Simple Cell will do its best “soul-work” and make the most significant progress. 



The Toolbox is an evolving hard copy resource providing simple tools, exercises and strategies for building up the Four Streams of the rule. It includes disciplines drawn from the breadth of the Christian tradition, from ancient to postmodern, East to West. The Toolbox is available on request at

You are now ready to simply begin the journey together!

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By the way…throughout Christian history friend-to-friend rules of life like this often find a place among 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

Many strands within the Christian tradition started 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 with these kinds of patterns, take a look at the“Simple Rule Inspirations” stories on my Spiritual Coaching & Neo-Monastics page. 

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

(Catherine of Siena)