JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (BP) -- As Derek Staples prepared for a mission trip to Honduras, he was on the lookout for a visual way to express the Gospel. The church mission team, in setting up a medical clinic at a local school, would be sharing the Gospel with people in a pre-literate environment.
Staples' outreach got a lift at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June when he heard a fellow pastor, Jimmy Scroggins, talk about the "3 Circles."
"I thought it [3 Circles] was an incredible visual representation of the Gospel," said Staples, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Ala., who led a volunteer team to the Central American country in July. "Most of the people in Honduras," he noted, "can't read or write."
Staples preached about 40 times and witnessed at the clinic using the 3 Circles as an outline. Nearly 600 people trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior during First Baptist's mission trip.
Staples now plans to train members in his church how to use 3 Circles to share their faith, noting, "I'm always trying to give my people as many tools as possible to help them effectively share the Gospel.
"This is a memorable, easy way to explain how anyone can have a personal relationship with Christ."
Staples is among a growing number of Southern Baptists using 3 Circles, a North American Mission Board evangelism tool to share the Gospel through personal evangelism and preaching -- and to train others in sharing their faith.
Scroggins, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., who described 3 Circles during NAMB's presentation at the SBC in Baltimore, developed it to train and mobilize his congregation for personal evangelism in a post-Christian environment.
The tool helps people use three simple circles that represent God's Design, Brokenness and the Gospel -- which can be drawn, for example, on a napkin during lunch -- to communicate the Gospel. NAMB has produced a variety of resources to help support pastors who want to train their churches to use 3 Circles, including free Apple and Android apps, a conversation guide, a PowerPoint presentation and online videos. The 3 Circles tool is part of a larger set of resources NAMB is releasing this year around a "Life On Mission" theme centered on mobilizing all believers for the mission of God.
David Burton, director of evangelism for the Florida Baptist Convention, trained 700 students in 3 Circles at the state's Super Summer camp earlier this year. Students particularly liked the fact that their smartphones could be among the ways they share the Gospel, he reported.
Burton, who typically teaches evangelism at two conferences and one church each week, said the 3 Circles tool will be a staple in his presentations.
"I think 3 Circles is going to be something that people will catch hold of because you don't have to have an app, you don't have to have tools, you don't have to have your Bible to do this," Burton said. "As Jimmy [Scroggins] says, you just need to have a napkin or a piece of paper or the back of your hand." Read More