On Thursday, Paul and I met a good friend from Gambia after not seeing him for several months. As we were catching up, we learned that he had recently baptized another young man and was now going on to disciple him to follow Jesus. It was great news, and it seemed that he was developing a vision for making disciples of other guys.
At one point, I asked him, if he had to teach his new friend to share the Gospel with someone else, would he know how to do it? He thought for a moment and said, “No, I don’t think I know what I would teach him.”
I asked him if I could quickly show him a way to share the Gospel and he said Yes. We walked through the Three Circles in about five minutes, and then, without preparing him that he would need to do anything, I asked him to share with me the same thing that I showed him, meanwhile hiding what I had shown him. He missed a few details, but certainly was able to explain the primary gist of the Three Circles, and thus the good news of the Gospel of Christ.
So, why is this story important? I think there are two main reasons:
- Our friend now knows at least one way to share the Gospel with other people.
- He now has a simple way to teach his new disciple how to share the Gospel.
This is critical because we now have the ability to duplicate our efforts.
Very frequently, we talk about wanting to do what Jesus told us to do, to make disciples and teach others to do what Jesus taught us to do, but we miss making it practical. Somehow, it seems that we believe that we’ll learn to do it someday, but if we are truthful, that day rarely comes for most people. And because it never comes, we have millions of Christians who could be sharing with others, reaching their friends, their family, or others across their community or across the world, but it doesn’t happen because they simply don’t know how.
At one point in our conversation, I asked my Gambian friend, if I gave him a cup, if he would know what to do with it. Of course, he said. It was a hot day, and we were sitting outside, drinking a lot of water. The cup was a simple tool that allowed him to take a drink of water. We discussed that the Three Circles is like the cup. It is a tool that, because of its simplicity, you can easily understand how to use it to do what you want to be able to do.
I believe that it is very important that we both read and understand the scriptures, but I believe we must also find ways to put them into practice in very practical ways. And beyond this, we must teach those around us to be able to do the same themselves. We shouldn’t wait to find the “right person” to share with our friends or family. We shouldn’t need to wait until we think the time is right and invite them to our churches. No, instead, for each person to be both ready and able to share in simple ways what God has done through Jesus in our lives and for the whole of humanity.
To do this, we need to use the power of simplicity. We need to be able to share this amazing message in a way that someone else, within a few minutes, can learn and understand, and be ready to turn around and teach it to someone else. If we do this, then I believe that we can see the good news of Jesus travel from one person to the next, moving ahead without limits.