T.J. MacLeslie is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, a minister, a missionary, and an author. He enjoys taking long walks with God and his dog Oreo. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation for missionaries serving around the world.
T.J. has a bachelor’s degree in Ancient History from U.C. Berkeley and a master’s degree in Biblical and Theological studies from Talbot Theological Seminary.
T.J. has been in Christian ministry since his first missions experience in 1990. In the years since, T.J. has been involved in a variety of ministries, including pastoring, church planting, leadership development, and spiritual formation. Through it all, his mission has always been, "To envision and train believers to go deep in their relationship with Christ and each other so that they can be a blessing to each other and the world."
Welcome, TJ. We are excited to have you here. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I am an inquisitive and passionate man. I am a student of human nature and a sinner saved by a graceful God. I have a tendency to pour myself whole heartedly into everything I do. This sometimes works out well, but other times this leads to comical or even tragic consequences; particularly because I lose track of everything else when I am engrossed in a project.
Are you a morning or an evening writer?
I am definitely an evening writer. Since high school, I have been doing my best work late into the night or even the early morning. In college it was not uncommon for me to stay up all night writing a paper, only to finish it and run to class just in time to turn it in. Even now, I can easily lose track of time and spend hours writing as if no time has passed at all.
Tell us about your latest book. What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Designed for Relationship is a book that has been begging me to write it for nearly 20 years. Although I’m glad I didn’t write it before now as it distills the lessons I have learned in my search for truth and meaning, as well as the paths I now use to guide people to fullness of life. The details of my meandering search for truth and meaning actually became my first book, Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool, while Designed for Relationship captures and clarifies the lessons learned and makes them available for others as well as providing practical tools to help fellow travelers.
Along the way, I have met wonderful people who challenged and encouraged me. Now, I have the opportunity to help others on their way. Some of those I have journeyed alongside kept asking me to write something down for them and so they could share it with others. It was in the process of listening to and serving people on their journey that this book took shape.
Designed for Relationship invites you to rediscover the relational nature of God and humanity in two parts: Part One examines ancient truths in the Bible to renew our vision of God and humanity; Part Two applies these truths to our lives, using The Five Circles, a practical tool to understand what it means to be human and providing a framework for growth. All of which has come as a result of my own search for God in the confusion and chaos of the real world.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part of creating this book was the editing. My creative process is to go away for a few days and write non-stop. Then, I send it to a few people to read and provide feedback. I have a tremendously supportive creative community of friends and fellow writers who provide really honest feedback.
What do you hope readers will learn from your book?
I hope that people will be moved by God’s love for them and will choose to intentionally cultivate their relationship with God. I have lived this and seen it in the lives of people I know and love. I am excited to have distilled it into book form, so this hopeful message can be spread more widely.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
It is currently available through Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and The Book Depository, but it can also be ordered through virtually any bookstore, if it isn’t currently in stock. It is also available digitally for the Kindle platform exclusively through Amazon, which means it can be read on most digital devices.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
What is up next for you?
I love my day job, helping people to grow and experience God more day by day, and I see writing as an extension of that. I plan to explore the issues of faith, culture, and personality through fiction next. But one of the really interesting parts of living connected with God is the adventure of letting Him lead you into what’s next. I have my plans and ambitions, but if the past is any indication, my plans will have little bearing on what comes next.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am so grateful for this opportunity to talk with you, and hope that others will enter into the conversation. While I feel like my book is a contribution to the conversation, it is not meant to be the final word. I’m eager to talk with readers and learn from each other. I hope that people will visit www.dfrbook.com and join the conversation.