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Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way Paperback – January 16, 2012

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Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way + Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us + Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (January 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830835644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830835645
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In Crafting a Rule of Life Steve Macchia tackles the central question facing the intentional disciple of Jesus Christ: How do I shape the rhythms of my life so I can walk with God? Steve's gentle, wise and practical guidance will help you draw closer to Jesus on a day-by-day basis. This is not a book to miss." (Christopher Webb, author of The Fire of the Word)

"Helping people develop their own personal rule of life so that their lives truly revolve around the love of Jesus is one of the most important issues facing the church today. Steve has made a wonderful contribution in writing this practical, thorough book. I highly recommend it!" (Pete Scazzero, pastor and author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality)

"Whether our lives are overregulated or disheveled, a 'rule of life' may be what we need—and this book will help. It is not about 'rules' but about the end and purpose of life—to know and love God and become all he made us to be. Read it as a guide to shaping a life, neither frittered away in self-indulgence nor constrained by expectations of others, but growing into the fullness of Christ. You will find Steve Macchia to be a wise and seasoned companion on the way." (Leighton Ford, author of The Attentive Life)

"Crafting a Rule of Life is a special gift of grace for all who seek a more faithful and fulfilling way of living as a follower of Jesus Christ. Steve Macchia clearly and compellingly writes about the value of a disciplined way of living for individuals and small groups, and then offers a carefully constructed pathway to find that more faithful and fulfilling way." (Rueben P. Job, coauthor of A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants and retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church)

"I often talk to people who feel 'living insanity' defines them more than 'living in sanity.' But one doesn't move from the former to the latter without intention and a plan. Crafting a Rule of Life offers a practical and doable process to move your life from insanely busy and driven to the sweet sanity of ordered work and rest. Biblical and historical guides accompany you on the crafting journey. Steve's book is a wonderful tool for your journey." (Adele Calhoun, author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook and Invitations from God)

"The genius of Steve's approach is he makes ancient ways contemporary, personal and practical. Saint Benedict joins your daily commute. George Mueller helps you reconcile your bank statement. There's no need to live in a cave or meditate atop a pillar. The life you long to live can be fashioned from the life you already have." (From the foreword by Mark Buchanan, author of Spiritual Rhythm)

About the Author

Stephen A. Macchia (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is founding president of Leadership Transformations, Inc., a ministry which focuses on the spiritual formation needs of leaders and the spiritual discernment processes of leadership teams in local church and parachurch ministry settings nationwide. Previously, Macchia served for 14 years as president of Vision New England, a ministry dedicated to equipping and mobilizing Christ-followers in discipleship and evangelism. Macchia is the author of several books, including Becoming a Healthy Church (Baker, 1999), Becoming a Healthy Disciple (Baker, 2004) and Becoming a Healthy Team (Baker, 2005).

More About the Author

Stephen A. Macchia is the founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. ( and the creator of the CHAT Survey for churches (Church Health Assessment Tool, details at He also serves as the director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. Steve is the author of six books, including Becoming A Healthy Church (Baker Books), Becoming A Healthy Disciple, Becoming A Healthy Team, and most recently, Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). Visit for more info.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
St. Benedict and St. Steve call these "rules of life."
John W. Pearson
I found this thought provoking and a helpful guide to organize my thoughts on the topic.
Amazon Customer
I just finished the book yesterday and it is truly a great and helpful resource!
Matthew Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on April 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm grateful to Steve Macchia for doing the detailed and diligent work that made this unique resource possible. You don't write a gem like this one on an iPad at Starbucks--rich insights don't flow from caffeine and deadlines. They ooze out from a lifetime of walking with God, loving Jesus, and disciplined listening and writing.

Macchia's amazing sweep of Christian history (not the main point of the book--but a delightful bonus) includes dozens of poster-quality quotes, like this from J.I. Packer:

"What matters supremely, therefore is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it--the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him, because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge."

Macchia is gutsy enough to imagine a 21st century Christianity that would care about a first century hero of the faith. "In his classic, `Little Rule for Beginners,' Benedict's opening word is Listen! He offers a way of listening in a safe, faith-filled community environment. Here God's voice can be heard by those seeking him through humility and obedience. In community, like-minded and like-hearted believers best learn to practice the disciplines of prayer, healthy relationships and good works."

And so...Macchia invites Christ-followers to develop "a set of guidelines that support or enable us to do the things we want and need to do." St. Benedict and St. Steve call these "rules of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Borden VINE VOICE on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love this book/workbook (see the website). I've been waiting almost three years for it. I was introduced to Stephen Macchia and the Rule of Benedict while attending a Renovaré Conference in June of 2009. Following that conference and the workshop I attended with Dr. Macchia, I immediately set out to use the information I learned from my notes and worksheets and I crafted my own personal Rule of Life. Since that time, I have continued the discipline of practicing a Rule of Life and I've taught others to do the same. I was greatly delighted when I was notified that Stephen had finally put together and published a workbook that could be used for individuals and groups. I did not hesitate a moment with getting my own copy.

While the book is arranged and formatted in the style of a workbook (fill-in-the-blank, listed notes, personal journal sections, tables, charts, and etc.), there are very informative reading sections that provide historical context, Biblical reasoning and reflection for the purpose of your rule and what each component of the rule represents, and anecdotal personal interest reading. It is a good and engaging mix that will appeal equally with individuals or groups who will work through Crafting a Rule of Life.

The book begins with an introduction explaining what a Rule of Life is in a literal context and moves from there to give a historical understanding of the same as Macchia shares the origins of the Rule as crafted by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century (540AD).

The workbook is formatted into three primary sections; Part One: Framing Your Personal Rule of Life, Part Two: Forming Your Personal Rule of Life, and Part Three: Fulfilling Your Personal Rule of Life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clint Walker VINE VOICE on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Between 1500 and 2000 years ago, Benedict of Nursia began a movement within Christian circles that continues to this day. He led people to an isolated place, and called them to live in intentional community so that they could teach and live out their Christian beliefs more faithfully. At the center of this community was the Rule of Benedict, which was covenant written by Benedict that guided their lives together in community. A "rule" in this sense is not so much a legalistic document that contains do's and don'ts, though some "rules" do include that, it is instead a structure to live by as a believer and as a community that helps those who follow it to grow spiritually.

Crafting a Rule of Life strives to follow in the footsteps of Benedict. Whether used in a community or individually, it guides students through ten-steps to creating a rule of life. Each of these steps are actually focused on understanding one's values, and one's priorities so that one can create a structure for one's spiritual life. That structure, in turn, will embrace disciplines, attitudes, and priorities that will create a spiritual rhythym that will guide a believers life into Christian faithfulness.

In adddition to the ten-steps, there are two chapters that help the student integrate their personal rule of life into a spiritual community of accountability and support. A "rule" really struggles without the support and accountability of community, so this section of the book is essential.

Each chapter has a similar structure. First, the topic is introduced. Then, an essay is included that communicates the Biblical foundation of why addressing the specific issue is central to healthy Christian living.
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