Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Fombelle, Doug


This project explored the formation practice known as Life Mapping, on the hypothesis that it is a catalyst for varied forms of spiritual transformation, quickening, and awakening. Though there are clear antecedents in the Christian tradition, the practice was initiated when Saint Augustine explored the work of God in his life, recording that first spiritual autobiography in his classic theological and philosophical work Confessions. A “Life Map” is a contemporary term for a spiritual quest to make sense of one’s whole life. This researcher discovered the practice with mentors who guided him through a church crisis at midlife using a Life Map. He subsequently led over fifty seminarians in construction of a Life Map as part of their preparation for ministry, observing a pattern of transformation for these adults. This project surveyed the graduates of Bethel Seminary of the East and interviewed eleven, finding solid confirmation for that hypothesis using statistical analysis and grounded theory. As secondary support for the hypothesis, he explored the theme of spiritual formation and transformation in an Old and New Testament character study, using a genogram and systems theory for Joseph and the latter for Paul. This project also surveyed research literature on a noted spiritual formation model, findings from narrative psychology, and an outline of a history of spiritual autobiography. He synthesized these data sources to propose a model for Life Mapping for use by individuals and groups. Narrative psychology calls this practice “Life Review” and makes the case that it is a universal human need. With autobiography the most popular genre in American literature, the time is ripe to reintroduce the practice.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis