The three circles and church planting
I was recently at a Missio Intensive in Ashland, Ohio and had an “ah-ha” moment. “Ah-ha” moments are what I call those times when the pieces come together and click into place and you realize something new.
You may be familiar with “the three circles” from the Tangible Kingdom. The idea is that we need to be at the intersection of all three of these areas: community with others, communion with God, and mission of the Kingdom. That’s the sweet spot. Whenever we are only in one or only in two, we need to move to incorporate the other circles.
At this particular Missio Intensive we shared case studies of three different church plants, and each one had its genesis in one of the three circles, then moved to incorporate the others. Matt Smay and Hugh Halter’s church came through inclusive community with others. Brandon Hatmaker’s church started with the mission and service to the poor. My church started with the communion circle of listening to the Spirit in prayer and trying to discern how he would lead us. In all three cases, our new churches started primarily in one area, but moved to embrace the others. You can have different starting points, but you eventually need to grow the whole thing.