James Bryan Smith was mentored by Richard Foster while a student at Friends University (Wichita, KS), and later partnered with Richard in the founding of Renovaré. Jim has remained at Friends University as a Professor of Religion and the founder and Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. He was part of the Friends University team that developed a master’s degree program in Christian spiritual formation and leadership based on Dallas Willard's approach, and he now holds the Dallas Willard Endowed Chair for Christian Spiritual Formation

He has authored ten books, most notably Good and Beautiful series, Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, Hidden in Christ and The Magnificent Journey,

Jim earned his MDiv at Yale University Divinity School, his DMin at Fuller Seminary, is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. He speaks throughout the United States and beyond about Christian spiritual formation, but follows Dallas's advice to only travel once per month.

Experience With Dallas

Jim served as a summer teaching assistant for Dallas over the course of seven years and spent much time learning from him inside and outside the classroom. Dallas’s teaching shaped Jim's understanding of God, the Christian life and the process of formation. In response to Dallas's challenge to develop a Curriculum of Christlikeness, Jim authored the "Good and Beautiful" series as a way of communicating Dallas's teaching in a more accessible format and created the Apprentice Institute for Spiritual Formation



Wichita, Kansas



Christian Spiritual Formation, theology, building on the work of Dallas Willard and Richard Foster,