As adapted by No Place Left Practitioners
Family Church set out to equip members to turn everyday interactions into gospel conversations. The 3 Circles tool they developed contributed to tripling their baptisms from 80 in 2013 to 240 in 2014. Movements in several parts of the world have adapted 3 Circles.
Jimmy Scroggins walks through the original 3 Circles in six minutes at namb.net/video/3circlesguide.
The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board turned it into a smartphone app: “Life Conversation Guide.”
The additional refinements below came through the application of 3 Circles in House of Peace searches on two continents.
Ten-year old Malachi models the adaption below in this four-minute video: vimeo.com/128678770
A Conversational Tactic
One study indicates that Americans average 27 conversations a day. These often surface struggles or issues which invite us to offer a reason for the hope we have (1 Pet 3:15).
The 3 Circles is more than a simple gospel presentation, it’s an interactive tactic for:
- guiding a conversation to include the gospel
- telling God’s story within your own story
- inviting a response
- training new believers to do the same.
A Sample Conversation
Let’s join Chris and Larry mid-conversation, as Larry mentions a disappointment.
L: “It’s been a rough day, starting with a fight with my wife.”
C: “Yeah, I’ve had days like that. A good friend shared something with me that gave me hope and helped me change. You are a good friend, and I’d like to share it with you.”
C draws a circle and writes Brokenness inside: “We live in a world of brokenness, full of hurting people hurting each other. I used to be so full of anger that I took it out on those around me. I could see myself doing it, but I didn’t know how to stop.”
C draws squiggly arrows out from and looping back to Brokenness: “We try escaping brokenness in relationships, career, pleasure or dulling our pain, but this just leads to greater brokenness. I used to get drunk frequently, and had a long string of relationships. But in the end I just felt more pain.”
L: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve focused on my career, but it seems to be tearing my marriage apart. So what did you learn?”
C draws a second circle, to the left of the first, and writes God’s Design inside. “I learned that our brokenness was not God’s original design! We see evidence of His design when we see the beauty of a newborn baby or an incredible sunrise or sunset.”
C draws an arrow from God’s Design to Brokenness and writes sin above it. “But each of us have rebelled against God and walked away from His design. The Bible calls this sin, and this leaves us in brokenness.”
C draws a third circle below and between the first two (forming an upside-down triangle of circles), and writes Jesus inside the top half. “God saw we could not escape our brokenness on our own, so God demonstrated his love towards us!”
C draws a down-arrow below Jesus’s name inside the circle. “He sent Jesus to the earth and Jesus lived a perfect life.”
C draws a cross next to the down-arrow. “He suffered a horrible death on a cross to take our brokenness upon Himself.”
C draws an up-arrow next to the cross. “Then Jesus rose again. He has power over death! He’s alive!”
C draws a line from Brokenness to Jesus, labels it with a king’s crown, and writes restored. “Jesus said if you will turn from your brokenness, believe that God raised Him from the dead, and confess Jesus as king of your life, you will be restored back to God’s design! SO I DID THAT! And now…”
C draws a line from Jesus to God’s Design and labels it grow. “I’m growing in God’s design …”
C draws an arrow from God’s design back to brokenness. “And I go tell others in brokenness about this GOOD NEWS!”
L: “That’s powerful!”
C: “Where do you see yourself in this picture?”
L points to Brokenness.
C: “And where would you like to be?”
L: “In God’s design.”
C: “You can get there right now. Larry, do you believe God raised Jesus from the dead?”
C: “Larry, do you want to turn now from your brokenness?”
C: “Would you confess to Jesus, not me, that you choose to follow Him as your king? Just tell him that!”
L: “Okay. Jesus, I turn from my brokenness and choose to follow you. Be the king of my life, Jesus!”
C: “Way to go Larry! Now let me show you some verses in the Bible!”
C opens to Matt. 28:18. “Jesus said, ‘all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ Do you believe Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth?”
C: “Are you giving Jesus authority over your life?”
C: “‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Larry, do you know what a ‘disciple’ is?”
C: “It’s like an apprentice, following and becoming like Jesus! Do you want to be a disciple of Jesus?”
L: “Yes, but I don’t know how.”
C: “We will care for you and help you! Jesus continued, ‘baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Baptism is a symbol of what Jesus did for us—He died, was buried, and three days later rose from the dead! Baptism is also a picture of the miracle that happens inside us when we follow Him—we die to our old self and are raised up to walk a new life with Jesus! Will you obey Jesus’ example and command to be baptized now?”
L: “Yes, let’s do it!”
C: “Great. Now let me continue, ‘teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ Larry, can we come back and continue teaching you how to obey everything Jesus commanded?”
L: “Sure. When?”
C: “How about this same time next week?”
C: “Look at this last part, Larry. Jesus promised, ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Larry, how does that make you feel?”
L: “Really Good. Really Good.”
C: “Never forget Jesus’ promise to you, Larry! Now let’s go find water so you can obey Jesus’ command and be baptized!”
L: “Let’s Go!”