3 Circles Unpacked

By January 18, 2018Leaders Handbook

Walking With God

As a small group leader, there is a really good chance that you will end up having a one-on-one discussion with one of your group members about his/her/their personal next steps as they walk with God, continue in this message as a lifestyle and get on mission with the Kingdom.  

The tool we use to have this discussion is the DCC “Walking with God (3 circles) Model.  Explain that the goal is to live in the middle of all 3 circles while maintaining balance between the circles and continuing to grow in all three circles.  This is the essence of spiritual growth – you will never “arrive.” It’s all about continuing to move forward. Maintain balance and forward momentum! As you know, we view ourselves like a MASH unit or combat medics at DCC.  We are not “surgeons”, but we can help with the rescue and stop the bleeding. The Small Group Coaches and the Adult Ministries Department at DCC will walk alongside you and your group members and pointing to God because that is where the real healing happens.  We can also recommend resources that will help you or your group take next steps in Walking with God, but ultimately this is on each person – it’s a lot like going to a physical therapist – he/she can give you lots of good exercises and stretches, but it’s up to you to actually do the work.  When they are ready, we hope your group will help rescue others.

The life (and the freedom) we are all looking for can be found when we are “Walking with God”.  It’s all about living in the center of, and continuing to grow in, all three circles, all the time.

Live on Mission

Many people gravitate toward the Live on Mission circle because it’s concrete, measurable, and active.  But to do this circle well, we need the other circles as well. One way to think about it is that this circle is “rescuing others”; however as Greg and John Eldredge have told us repeatedly, you have to first be rescued before rescuing others.  Discuss each of the six elements of life on mission (Invite, Connect, Serve, Give, Worship, and Lead-see below). Is the group member currently doing all six? If not, can he or she determine a measurable next step with a concrete implementation plan to start?  They do not have to necessarily tell you what that is, nor do we expect you to be his/her accountability partner. Your job is to help them see what it might look like to live on mission.

Live on Mission:  Walking with God is NOT a spectator sport!

To experience all that Jesus has for us, we must get on mission with Him.  If we truly want to walk with God, of course we should study what He taught, but we cannot stop there.  We should do what He did – live a life that is focused on rescuing others. Let’s take the focus off of ourselves and live for the rescue of others.  At DCC, we believe there are six essentials to living on mission

  • Invite others to come and see what we have found.
  • Serve inside and outside the Church to love other people as Jesus does – with no strings attached.
  • Lead ourselves, our families, and others to the rescue and life we are all looking for.
  • Give of our resources to help us remember that it really wasn’t ours to begin with and so that others can be rescued as we were.
  • Connect in smaller communities because life-change happens best in circles, not rows.
  • Worship regularly so you can be disrupted, challenged and encouraged.

Assessment Questions:

  • Where are you with each of the 6 essentials?  Are you doing each of these regularly and with the right heart?
  • How are you challenging, helping, and encouraging others to pursue God’s plan for their lives?

Potential Resources:

  • “The Unexpected Adventure” – by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg
  • “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them” by John Ortberg
  • “The Volunteer Revolution” and “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels
  • “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn
  • DCC Series: CORE , Separation of Church and Hate
  • “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” and “Emotionally Healthy Leadership” by Peter Scazzero
  • “Surfing for God” by Michael John Cusick
  • “Practicing Greatness” by Reggie McNeal
  • “Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley
  • “Primal Leadership” by Daniel Goleman
  • “The Most Excellent Way to Lead” by Perry Noble
  • “Leadership and Self-Deception” by Arbinger Institute
  • “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck
  • “A Light to the Nations” by Michael Goheen

Let’s use “giving” as an example:

Bob tells you that he is not giving to the church because he simply cannot afford to give 10% of his income right now.  That’s ok – that’s life. But can he afford 5% or 1% or $10/week? Does he recognize that all we have, came from God? Does he recognize that God could be using this as an opportunity to break strongholds?  For some people money equals status or security and that is a pose. For some, sacrificing for others might bring growth. For some, it might be a catalyst for budgeting and financial discipline (think Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace).  Ultimately, giving is about sharing the generosity that God has showered on us so that others can experience God.

Discover Your Story

The Discover Story circle should be pretty ingrained in them by now if you started with the Community study and they have been attending DCC for any length of time.  If he or she has not completed Wild at Heart or Captivating, encourage them to do so. If they have completed these foundational studies, encourage him/her to maintain the momentum by staying in their timeline asking Jesus to continue to heal their wounds.  Explain that they will continue to identify new wounds and to seek healing for those as well. Explain that too often, we discover our wounds and just sit in them and that is not at all what we want for him or her. Resources for continued growth in this circle include the Fathered by God series, attendance at a Wild at Heart Bootcamp/Captivating Retreat, regularly reviewing your timeline during quiet time with God, and journaling.  Regardless, you cannot go wrong encouraging each and every person to attend a Ransomed Heart Retreat and the DCC Men’s or Women’s Retreat. If individual or group counseling might be a good idea, send an email to pastoralcare@metooplace.com to arrange a referral meeting.

Discover Your Story:  Understanding how our past is affecting our present as Jesus leads us towards who He created us to be and we find our unique place in His larger story.

Jesus came to address all of our brokenness – the sum total of the things that we have done, the things that have been done to us, and the collateral damage and lingering effects of those things in our life. At DCC, we call these “wounds” and a part of discovering our story is becoming aware of the wounds from our past.   

If he or she completed Wild at Heart or Captivating, they probably have an awareness of the wound(s).  But awareness isn’t healing – just knowing our wounds isn’t enough. Jesus wants to heal the wounds that resulted from what we did or what others did to us.  This is an ongoing process – there is always more to work on with Jesus.

Life makes more sense when we understand that we have an enemy who deliberately custom-designed the wound(s) for each of us.  This WOUND led to a lie or MESSAGE that caused you to make an AGREEMENT about yourself that led to a VOW that you will never let yourself be hurt like that again.  All of this was orchestrated to keep us from the life that Jesus has for us.

God put core desires in each of our hearts that ultimately point back to Him.  Understanding those core desires, our talents, and experiences in the context of God’s larger story will lead us to the life we are looking for.

Assessment Questions:

  • Are you aware of how your past is affecting your present?
  • Are you comfortable sharing your story?  
  • Does your idea of church or being Christian line-up with what you learn at DCC?
  • What are you doing to stay in your story? (pursuing healing)
  • Can you describe your wounds?  The messages and agreements? The vows?
  • Are you openly sharing what is really going on in your life with others?

Potential Resources:

  • “Desire”, “Epic” and “Fathered by God” by John Eldredge
  • “The Drama of Scripture” by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen
  • “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette
  • DCC Messages on Story
  • Ransomed Heart Boot Camp or Captivating Retreat
  • “Leading with a Limp” and “The Healing Path” by Dan Allender
  • “The Healing Journey” study (His Healing Light Ministries)
  • Counseling Referrals (Group or Individual)
  • Restoration of the Heart retreat or videos (The Allender Center)

Experience Jesus

The Experience Jesus circle, in connection with the Discover Story circle, basically equals being rescued by Jesus.  Ask him/her how they think they are doing in the Experience Jesus circle. Does he/she have a solid understanding of the teaching of Jesus?  If not, perhaps a Starting Point group would be appropriate. If he/she knows the basics but wants to dig deeper, the Go Deeper website (godeeper.metooplace.com) has online resources that they can watch.  How’s the prayer life? Are they using the Ransomed Heart online prayer page? Has he/she listened to the Developing a Conversational Intimacy with God CDs? If yes to both of those, maybe Moving Mountains is the next step.  Is he/she spending time in the Word? Again, we are not asking you to be an accountability partner but rather encourage them to develop their own plan on what is a reasonable amount of time to be reading the Bible. Perhaps it’s listening to the Bible on audio books as he/she drives to work.  The key here is helping the person think through personal next steps in whichever circle they determine needs to focus while maintaining momentum in the circles they are currently strong in.

Experience Jesus:  Jesus didn’t come to bring a rule book, but walk through this life with us.  He wants us to experience the rescue He came to bring us.

Experiencing Jesus is more than Bible study, prayer, and fasting. These are all good for us and help give us structure to experience Jesus, but God isn’t a book to be studied. He is a friend and father and He is longing for us to experience Him for who He really is.

Historically the church has painted Jesus to be a wispy, angelic, frail, authority figure. And while Jesus is gentle, He is also an untamed and incomprehensible force, passionate for the people of this world – relentless, strong, humble, daring, dangerous, just, forgiving, passionate, and outrageous. Most of us have been taught a small fraction of who Jesus really is.

Jesus wants each of us to experience His rescue, peace, love, hope, healing, and freedom.   A conversational relationship with God is available and through it we can begin to experience the 100% grace & 100% truth of Jesus.  Then we can gain an understanding of God’s larger story – and our part in His story.

Assessment Questions:

  • Religion vs Relationship – how do you experience Jesus daily?
  • Where is God currently stretching you/making you grow?
  • What does spending time with God look like for you?  How often?
  • What are you doing to develop spiritually that impacts your leadership?
  • Are you regularly praying for others that do not know the freedom of Jesus?

Potential Resources:

  • “Starting Point” study by Andy Stanley
  • “Field Guide-Welcome to the Revolution” by Brian Tome
  • “Beautiful Outlaw” and “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge
  • The Daily Prayer (Ransomed Heart)
  • “Developing a Conversational Intimacy with God” (Audio CD-Ransomed Heart)
  • “Sacred Romance”, “Walking with God” and “Moving Mountains” by John Eldredge
  • DCC’s Go Deeper Website – Basic Theology, Communion, Baptism courses
  • “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg
  • “In A Pit with A Lion on A Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson

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