Josh Eley is in Year 2 of the Send SFL Residency Program at Family Church.

Our missional community three thirds strategy is centered on our core values: Build Families, Teach the Bible and Love Our Neighbors. The first third is focused on building families and helps us construct the solid foundation that we intrinsically need for our own family unit. Sharing joys and challenges as well as encouraging one another prepares us to love our neighbors. Our second third focuses on God’s Word.

So often in our Christian walk we learn how to read the Bible. We learn how to internalize the Scriptures and apply the principles to our daily lives, current situations, struggles and concerns. However, when talking about the three thirds strategy, we want to change the way we absorb the Scriptures. We want to read with a more didactic end result in mind. We want to learn how to share God’s Word with our neighbors in a clear concise way. This takes practice. This takes reading with the cognizance of our purpose. We are reading to retain and repeat to our neighbors, friends and coworkers the principles purported in Scripture. Gathering together and putting our collective efforts, backgrounds and levels of understanding to work is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal.

Our Bible discovery is broken down into three parts: Say, Obey and Share (S.O.S).

What does the Bible say? As we read Scripture it is important that we keep it at face value. We are not going to invent some sort of theological conundrum through a newfound hermeneutical approach. What is the orthodox understanding of Scripture? Our goal here is to be able to simply communicate to our neighbors what God sets forth in Scripture for their lives.

Is there a command to obey?  Are the scriptures being descriptive or prescriptive? What is God instructing us to do? It is far too easy, especially as established Christians, to glaze over as we read. We can tend to read through as if reading a story. Once we orient ourselves to the fact that God gives real and relevant commands for today, it becomes easier to speak to our neighbors with confidence. For it is not our own opinions or cultural outlook that formulates our actions and thought patterns, rather it is God’s word.

Is there a principle to share? As we focus on living on mission, we always want to look for concepts that we can share with our neighbors.

Once we finish our study, we take time to practice the 3 Circles. The 3 Circles is a good tool in our belt to teach people about God and His salvation for our lives. More times than I care to admit, I have tripped and stumbled over my words when trying to witness. Often the chance to share Christ is spontaneous. When we have had time to practice and plan what we are going to say when that time comes, we can communicate God’s plan for them more clearly. Practicing the 3 Circles gives us the confidence we need, and could be the difference between shying away from a moment, or moving forward with boldness.

The Spirit moves just as much in the preparation as He does the execution. Practicing for an encounter to share Christ does not remove the fluidity of the Holy Spirit. It is in the preparation for that moment to witness that clarity of thought exists.