Concentric Circles of Influence. They don’t lie.

A Saturday Bohemian Husband Post.

 

A fellow named Oscar Thompson came up with this idea of concentric circles to illustrate our levels of involvement in people’s lives.  I think it’s brilliant.  AND it raises a few questions for me.

 

But before I jump right into making everyone defensive, let me explain the circles.  Basically, the closer the person is to the center of the circle, the closer your relationship with them is.

 

 

Obviously, you are closest to you.  Then family, relatives, friends, and on and on until you go past acquaintances to “Person X”.  That’s a person you don’t know at all.

 

Now I know, I know—many of us are closer to our friends than we are to our family and relatives.  Those middle circles blur very easily.  And honestly, if your friend is that close, they’re sort of “family”, if you know what I mean.

 

The point for Mr. Thompson, and my point as well, isn’t to determine who you hang out with the most, or who knows more of your dirty little secrets.  Mr. Thompson was all about who we have the ability to influence the most.  More precisely:  Who is God more likely to use you to influence?

 

That’s where friends and family get sorted out.  Because if you go nuts your “friends” will usually drop away eventually… the best ones will hang in there for quite awhile before they do.  But your family…usually you can treat them all kinds of bad and then show up 30 years later and still get to sleep on their couch for a night if you need it.  In other words:  the circles don’t lie.

 

Statistics exist because we actually are able to quantify results based on the likelihood of their occurrence.  So please don’t try to discredit a statistical fact with your anecdotal evidence.  Or as King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

 

Now, on to the questions.

 

Who was the biggest influence on your relationship with God?  Was it some random stranger knocking on your door on a Monday night, or was it someone you knew, like a parent or close friend?

 

Why do we spend so much time in our churches teaching people “clever” (not so clever, really…) ways to share the good news with people they’ve never met, but pastors—at least where I live—openly mock “relationship evangelism”?  As if they were “led to the Lord” by a total stranger themselves?

 

Why do our churches stress so much about sharing with People X, instead of saying, “Hey, stop being a royal butt at your house.  Why don’t you try talking to your buddies about God instead of hunting and football?”

 

Why do we value people who spend so much time going up to these random strangers, or putting Bibles and tracts in public places, when we probably don’t personally know a single person who was truly saved that way?  I mean come on, even Billy Graham admitted that the majority of the people at his crusades were “rededications”—whatever that means.

 

Why do we think relationship evangelism is just “an option”, but the “real” evangelism is the stuff where you go up to random strangers and debate them into loving God?  If that’s true, then what’s the point of having a testimony?

 

What’s the point of living like Jesus if you’re only supposed to talk to people who don’t know about your life?

 

Who do you, personally, have the most likelihood to influence?

 

-Jeremy