I am currently working on a video recording series of a devotional on a book about disciple-making with a digital marketing company. In the video series, I speak on the theme of, “concentric circles.”
Because there is a major disconnect between these relationships in our everyday conversation, people in the church so often don’t understand what the “Great Commission” is. Or at least, the saying, “Go and make disciples” is a term that is foreign and misapplied by the people as they have no idea what it is. They have to know exactly where it is supposed to go.
The language of the discipleship culture when embraced by a community often leads to many other connections a whole lot of areas in ministry. This relationship between all the concentric circles in the world, the church, and the small group levels.
Here are the 6 stages of concentric circles of influence to be considered,
These are unreached people. We are speaking of those who are absolutely lost; Zero-knowledge of the gospel.
As Leonard Ravenhill said it well once, “We ought to blush that we are unashamed. We ought to get down before God and repent that we have no broken heart. A wet-eyed preacher can never preach a dry-eyed sermon.”
We see in the scriptures where Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). Maybe we should begin to pray, “Jesus gives me tears for these broken lives. Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
We ought to weep because we have no tears for the lost. Never speak of a lost soul without tears of Christly compassion in your eyes.
These are the numbers of people Jesus spoke to such as sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-6). The great multitude 150–500.
The fundamental questions we ask perhaps is this; what do we value?
If you’re in the case of asking questions such as, “How many people we had at church?” what really matter is maintaining the show. True disciple-making leaders form the questions surround the heart of what really matters to them.
When we look into the gospel accounts, the disciples ask similar questions. Quite frankly, the 12 of them were all quite clueless. The disciples were instead asking questions such as, “Who is going to be the greatest in the kingdom?” (Matt. 18:1-5).
Christian leader, we have a responsibility of forming those questions, lead people to something that really matters about discipleship.
If we care about the crowd, we will instead as questions, “What does it mean to follow? allegiance? What does it mean to follow Jesus as Lord?”
This is where you are imparting your very life and the gospel to a community of people.
As we see in the words of the apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians,
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thess. 2:7-8).
As missional leaders empowered by the love of Christ, we can effectively lead the church to declare and demonstrate the gospel in the communities around us.
“We were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives.”
This is where gospel, mission, and ministry collide together.
This means loving the church, which is expressed out of the depth of urgency of need. These are people who are interested yet are quite not sure yet.
What does it mean by studying the Bible? How can one pray? These are children of the faith. They want to know more about the message on Sunday morning and are seeking.
Here are people love is expressed in the community of faith (John 13:34-35)
Eugene Peterson said, “90 percent of Jesus time was spent with the disciples.”
These are the core people you are set on board working alongside together. This is perhaps where you get to know a very small group of people such as a couple, children, and their family.
A healthy marriage and a healthy family is able to effectively serve the local church as servant leaders.
This is the reality; The church is filled with Christians who have never been discipled.
One-on-one (You will be hard pressed to find Jesus ministering one-on-one in a systematic relationship. He just didn’t do it. One-on-one happens outside the group, never in place of the group. Growth explodes as members of the group reproduce.)
You will be leading the local church by intentionally developing disciples who make disciples. (Psalms. 127:3, 1 Peter 3:7; Proverbs 22:6)
Not only Believe the Gospel but Live the Gospel
We are in the Great Commission by living empowered by the Great Commandment love.
Only you as a leader can care for the vital relationship outline in these concentric circles. Other church leaders or members cannot give personal care for these areas of your life.
You are the “Keeper of the springs” of your heart-relationships.
Prayerfully reflect on the Concentric Circles and ask the Lord which of these relationships He would give attention to.