Graphic showing a road, representing our Way of Life. It is surrounded by hills, trees, houses, a church and London iconic buildings, including the Big Ben, BT Tower and Gherkin. It also displays a sunrise and some clouds in the sky. On the left side, there is the image of a trellis with three plants of different sizes growing against it and being supported by it.

“Exploring our shared Way of Life as a church has been one of the most significant things we’ve done over the years and is already starting to have a deep impact on the culture of the church.”
The Revd Richard Young 

A set of resources is available for churches wanting to develop a shared Way of Life.

Below, we explain the concept of a shared Way of Life, and what a journey towards a shared Way of Life might look like. Support for those setting off on this journey is available, including the delivery of seminars and quiet days. Please contact our Diocesan Discipleship Enabler, Mirjam Ngoy-Verhage for more information.


In the book of Acts, the first Christians were known as those who ‘belonged to the Way’. Our faith is not just about believing in Jesus, but about expressing this by the way we live. A Way or Rule of Life – as a ‘handbook’ for how a Christian community might live together – dates back to the monastic communities of the third century.

Our diocesan shared Way of Life resources aim to help churches formulate a shared Way of Life in the context of their church community. This is not about starting something completely new, but about becoming more aware of what we are already doing to grow our faith and more intentional about how we want to be shaped and formed going forward.

‘Following a shared Way of Life has helped people in our church in different ways: some have been encouraged in their praying, others have learned to discern when God is speaking, and some have become more confident about their faith in the workplace.’
Rev Simon Reed, Church of the Ascension, Ealing


Crafting a shared Way of Life for our church community involves a process of prayerful discernment. We take into account our unique context and calling. What might be our gift to the world?

Ideally, this process will be started off with a Quiet Day, with plenty of space for both personal as well as group reflection. This will be followed by a 6-12 month process of discernment and experimenting with different practices. It might lead to a service of commitment to a shared Way of Life. You can download an overview of what the process might look like here (or click here for a plain text version).

To help us on our way, this tool encourages a four step discernment process:


Usually delivered in the form of a Quiet Day for our church community or PCC and leadership team, we ask ourselves: what is our current way of life? What is bringing life, where is our energy drained and what are our hopes going forward? From this, we have a first go at naming the Postures of our shared Way of Life: who is it we are becoming?

We spend the next few months having a go at experimenting with different communal practices, embedding these in our already existing church services, meetings and small groups.


When we look back to the early centuries, new communities would often draw their shared Way of Life from the one which their founder followed. Studying examples of communities and churches with a shared Way of Life is an important part of the journey, as these lived examples will guide us on our way. Or in the words of Revd Simon Reed: ‘A Way of Life is often caught rather than taught.’ (Followers of the Way, Simon Reed (BRF, 2017)

We take time to learn from other communities with a shared Way of Life to inform us on our journey of discernment. This might include a visit to another community.


Most Ways of Life have between five to nine Postures, or commitments, that summarise the shared Way of Life. To give some examples:

The Rule of St Benedict: Prayer, Work, Study, Hospitality and Leisure.

St Barnabas Church, Kensington: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Community, Work, Witness and Rest.

Nazareth Community, Trafalgar Square: Silence, Scripture, Sabbath, Sacrament, Sharing, Service, Staying With.

Northumbria Community: Availability and Vulnerability.

As we continue to pray our shared Way of Life into being, we agree on the Postures of our shared Way of Life and explore these further through a sermon series, community day, small group sessions or specific Lent or Advent sessions.


We explore what committing to our shared Way of Life might look like. We think about the practical ways in which our lives are being shaped. Which communal and individual Patterns and Practices will help us embody the Postures of our shared Way of Life?

This might include a service of commitment to a shared Way of Life. We think through processes for accountability, the cycle of joining, renewing, and laying down of commitment.

‘Committing to a shared Way of Life is, I believe, helping me to become the person that God wants me to be. It shapes the pattern of my spiritual life and helps me remain focused on God in the decisions and actions of my everyday life.’
Emma Bresslaw, member of the Nazareth Community

Find out more

Download the full resources

Read and subscribe to our Way of Life newsletter

Reach out to our Discipleship Enabler,  Mirjam Ngoy-Verhage for more information.

Way of Life Stories

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More Resources

Five ancient ways of Christian prayer to help us Stay with God.

Click here for video sessions and PDF handouts.

Exploring listening as a key practice in our journey of faith to strengthen our relationship to self, the other and God.

Click here for video sessions and PDF handouts.

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