Mansions of the Heart (book)

Mansions offers practical approach for developing a deeper, more authentic relationship with God. Written for anyone who wants to develop a deeper more meaningful relationship with God, Mansions of the Heart offers a step-by-step guide through a spiritual formation road map based on Teresa of Avila’s Seven Mansions. The book will help you discern your place on your spiritual journey and offers church leaders a process for helping church members to grow into spiritual maturity.

Mansions contains a spiritual paradigm based on the writings of Teresa of Avila, one of Christianity’s most profound and beloved mystical teachers Offers a complete, step-by-step program for spiritual growth. It includes information for leading others in their spiritual journeys and is appropriate for all kinds of Christians.

Emphasis of the Study Guide

The study guide focuses on your personal experience and attempts to facilitate group discussion which may help shed greater light on your relationship with God. Often, as followers of Christ, we know how to talk a “good game” about information or concepts, but can confuse our knowledge with actually experiencing Him. The questions, exercises, and group discussions in the following chapters provide an opportunity to simply experience Him as we grow in our understanding of how He facilitates our spiritual growth. While this study guide can be used individually, we encourage you to use it with some trusted friends. Scripture encourages us to learn from the Abrahams, Isaacs, and Jacobs, those who have known God in the past as well as our sisters and brothers in Christ today. Our spiritual growth, therefore, happens best in the context of a loving community where God can teach us, not only through the stories of Biblical characters, but also through one another.

Design of the Study Guide

Each chapter of the study guide contains three phases that correspond to three activities we recommend for each week: Reflective Study, Spiritual Exercise, and Group Sharing.

  1. We invite you to engage in a time of Reflective Study by yourself. Spend time in prayer. Then take notes as you read the chapter, and record your insights as you study the biblical texts. Finally, reflect on the questions about the chapter content.
  2. The Spiritual Exercise, also completed alone, provides an opportunity to engage with God in a way related to the content of each chapter.
  3. The Group Sharing guide helps each person explore and share their experiential reflections, providing opportunity to learn from and support one another.

Creation of the Study Guide

I (Ted) began taking small groups through Mansions of the Heart a few years ago and after leading a few groups I decided to put together a written study guide. The guide consisted of several questions and a spiritual exercise for each chapter. Having something tangible helped participants wrestle with the material and prepare for excellent group reflection. So, I approached Tom about developing something together that could maximize personal reflection and group discussion. To my great joy, Tom agreed.

I (Tom) had been receiving feedback that Mansions and it insights had proved life-changing for many and that reading it together proved particularly powerful. While the questions at the end of each Chapter proved helpful, more was needed to help groups explore the depths of their amazing and unique journeys with God. Ted’s invitation appeared to be God’s invitation, as well. The process of team writing with Ted has been delightful and his experiencing using Mansions in a number of groups proved invaluable.

The process of teaming has been a privilege. A deep friendship and bond developed through working together which proved to be the best part of the project. All along the way, it felt so right to be creating in community a piece designed to facilitate community in Christ.

Author information:

Dr. Tom Ashbrook

tom ashbrookTom Ashbrook leads Church Resource Ministries’ spiritual formation ministry, the Order of Imago Christi. Imago Christi develops spiritual formation resources and coaches Christian leaders and churches to be able to live and lead with a spiritual authority grounded in loving intimacy with Jesus. He provides spiritual direction and coaching for pastors and missionaries in various parts of the world and leads spiritual formation discovery seminars. Tom holds degrees in aeronautical engineering, management systems, pastoral ministry, and spiritual formation. Tom is author of Mansions of the Heart: Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth, published by Jossey-Bass in 2009. He lives with his wife Charlotte in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. You can learn more about Tom’s ministry at imagochristi.org.

Dr. Ted Wueste

Ted_WuesteTed lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children. After serving nine years as the Senior Pastor of a church he planted, he now serves as Executive Pastor of Spiritual Formation in a large evangelical church in Phoenix.  In addition, Ted offers spiritual direction and spends time co-directing the Spiritual Formation Society of Arizona – a network and support to those involved in spiritual formation ministry. He holds an MDiv from Western Seminary and an STM from Dallas Seminary as well as Doctor of Ministry from Phoenix Seminary in Leadership.  You can learn more about Ted’s ministry at desertdirection.com.


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