I have started using a tool called the Three Circles to share the gospel. It has been used by tens of thousands of people by now.
This is not the only way to share, but it is very simple and anyone can do it. You can easily teach it to others. It is engaging. You don’t have to buy any tracts or install any apps. All you need is a piece of paper and something to write with.
How to Introduce the Three Circles
There are many ways. You can simply ask “Have you heard of the Three Circles”? They will say “No” in all likelihood. Say something like, “I’d really like to show it to you. It literally only takes a minute or two. Would that be OK?”
That is what I said to the Bank Officer with whom my daughter and I shared the gospel this morning.
You might have other ways to introduce it. Depending on the mood of the conversation you could say any kind of thing. I switched the mood earlier by mentioning I was overseas preaching the gospel and praying for sick people who got healed. You will have something from your own life you can mention in order to set the tone before you ask an introducing or bridging question like the one above. It could be as simple as referring to the fact that you went to a church meeting recently. Once you’ve done something like that, if you have nothing better to try, just ask them “Have you heard of the Three Circles?”
The Three Circles Presentation itself
You start off by drawing a circle on the right hand side of a piece of paper. You can make a jagged line through it and you can say something LIKE “you may have noticed when you turn on the news a lot of bad stuff is happening. (Here mention briefly a few relevant examples depending on what you think might interest the person. These things might include anxiety, stress, family breakdown, pain, economic problems, bad government or any number of things that people would agree are a bad thing. For school children it might be bullying. Different things for different people).
Then say something like:
“This circle represents the fact that we live in a BROKEN world. In fact, we were born into brokenness. Nothing is really fully the way it ought to be.”
Circle 2 – The Kingdom of God
Then say something like: “But it wasn’t always this way. When God first made the world, He made it beautiful and perfect.”
Draw a second circle to the left of the first one.
“The first people enjoyed God’s love easily. In this circle are things like Love, Peace, Joy, Health, Rightness (write these in) Maybe draw a love heart. Our first ancestors lived this way for a short time.
“But something happened which moved us to this broken circle”. Draw a line and an arrow from the Love Circle to the Broken Circle. Label it “SIN”. Basically what sin is, is the choice to leave God out, to do things our own way, and not respect God’s Word.
You might like to elaborate on this very briefly, depending on the amount of time you feel is right to use. But don’t go on and on, because if a person is interested, there will be opportunities to explain it more later.
People Try Things to Get Out of Brokenness
You then go on to explain: “People don’t like living in brokenness, so they try various things to get out of it.” You draw various arrows moving out from the brokenness circle, and give them different labels. For example, “Money, or success, or achievement, or relationships, or philosophy, or good works, or religious activity”. “The problem is, none of these things actually get people out of brokenness. They might seem to help for a short time, but then people find themselves back in brokenness.”
Ask: “Does this make sense so far?”
Third Circle – Jesus – His Life, Death on the Cross and Resurrection
Draw a third circle below the 2 circles already drawn. In the circle draw a cross. You will also be drawing a down arrow before it, and an up arrow after it.
“God knew nothing we could do by ourselves would get us out of this brokenness. But God loves us and didn’t want things to stay this way, so He sent his Son Jesus to the earth. He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life and then died on a cross to pay for all our SIN and the brokenness that comes as a result. He then rose again from death, was seen by his disciples for 40 days and then returned to God.
“The point of this was to provide a way back to the Original State with God – the 2nd circle – with the Love, Peace, Rightness, Joy and so on. The things God made us for. Now because of Jesus’ death, there is a way back to God.
At this point draw an arrow from the brokenness circle to the 3rd circle with the cross. What we need to do is reverse the decision made earlier to leave God and His Word out (point to the sin arrow). But that wouldn’t be enough if it wasn’t for what Jesus did. We also need to BELIEVE in Jesus and what He did, so that we can RECOVER (draw a line from the 3rd circle to the 2nd) what was lost and PURSUE (new line with arrow from Circle 3 to Circle 2) a life with God and what God has for us now and for all eternity.
Ask: “Does that make sense?”
How to Close
At this point you can ask 3 basic questions:
- “If you were honest, which circle would you be in now?”
- “Which circle would you like to be in now?”
- Assuming they answer as we hope, “What is stopping you?”
There is no way we can force or manipulate things here, but we can listen and respond with the help of the Holy Spirit.
What I do if an unbeliever says they are more or less in the God circle is to reinforce the seriousness of sin. I talk about the law of God, the holiness of God, and how we are not clean enough to approach God on our own. I emphasise that when we are in the GOD circle or “Kingdom of God” circle, we actually have a real CONNECTION with God which we know in our soul because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Expand on this a little if it helps, and then bring people back to the three questions.
Some Will Not Be Ready to Cross Over
Some will say yes, but others won’t be ready. And we can’t force them. And we shouldn’t try, because after we leave, if God has not been drawing them, or they don’t truly want God, they shouldn’t be allowed to think that they tried it and it isn’t real.
You can invite people to pray that Jesus will show His reality to them.
You can ask, “Would you be willing to talk about these things again at a later date?”
You might find out why they don’t want to cross over – turn, believe and pray. You might be able to help clear up a misconception.
You have to sense by observing their body language whether they want the conversation to end or whether you can interact more about it. Be sensitive to them and the Holy Spirit.
Some Will Want to Go Forward
We need the Holy Spirit’s help at this point. If they want to go forward, it is easy to lead people in some kind of sinner’s prayer. You must have heard such prayers before. Personally I believe we would often do better to invite them to a Bible study or ask to meet them again, perhaps in a coffee shop, or in their home. It all depends of the relationship, the social climate you are in, and the person’s responsiveness.
It would be better to get people to see what the Bible says before leading them in a prayer. But there are always exceptions to every situation.
It takes a lot of wisdom from God to know what is right to do here, and you may need to be very tuned in to the Holy Spirit. What you really want is to meet the person again, if possible. In that future meeting you could show Scriptures which teach the simple gospel, and also explain that Baptism in Water is what God wants for them when they repent and turn to God.
The risk of them making a shallow commitment without much understanding is much greater than the risk of them dying and going to hell before your next meeting. Besides, if they really understand, they can search it out themselves and pray to God themselves before your next meeting.
This is an Official NoPlaceLeft video showing the 3 circles a little better than what I have explained. The essential elements are made clear here.
A Challenge for You
If you yourself are not sure where you stand with God, reach out to me online and I will help you.
OR – and I suspect most of my readers are believers –
I challenge you to learn this Three Circles presentation this week and share this Three Circles presentation with one person in the next 2 weeks, or earlier. You might be able to do it all today.
Let me know how it goes. If you would like regular encouragement and be part of an online community that does these things, write me and let me know.