This past Sunday I preached about crop circles. Seriously.

Where do they come from? Pranksters? Aliens? Al Gore’s cronies? Who?

I’ve solved the mystery, and it’s none of the above.

Who makes crop circles? The people at my church. We are the crop circle people.

What are crop circles? Spheres of influence where people are welcomed into community. Places where God is able to reap a rich harvest through Jesus Christ.

There are many circles in my life. I’ve got my wider church circle, an extended family circle, a work circle, a writer’s circle. That said, there are three main circles all the other circles revolve around to one degree or another.

1. My home circle. My physical house, where we live.

2. My friendship circle.

3. My Life Group (small group) circle.

What I’m learning is that God wants to take these ordinary circles and transform them into crop circles.

How does he do that?

One, by coaxing me to open them. When these three circles open, all of heaven’s potential is unleashed for changing lives and changing the world.

Two, by moving me to invite people into them. See, for far too long, Christians have been obsessed with inviting people TO things. TO church. TO outreach events. TO concerts. TO dessert nights. TO Alpha. Which is fine, except people don’t want to be invited to things, by and large. They want to be invited INTO community. Into our primary circles. When we invite people into these three circles—home, friendship, Life Group—the church grows. When these circles close, the church begins to die.

We need to stop (for awhile, at least) thinking, “How can I invite Bob TO church?” and start thinking, “How can I invite Bob INTO my primary circles? Sharing Jesus and the gospel and Jesus with people is where we’re going, yes… but first, think about inviting people into your home. Sharing your friends. Sharing your Life Group fellowship. Powerful stuff, because when people hear the truth within the context of community, it’s not just theory, it’s reality.

And here’s another cool concept. If we’re serious about living community, there are places in our lives where all three circles intersect. Right? So Shauna and I host a Life Group in our home, and our Life Group people are also becoming close friends. So inviting someone into one circle is like inviting them into three circles at one time. That’s the sweet spot. And it takes less work on our part, because these three circles no longer represent three separate worlds to manage. They are becoming one.

In fact, there is a couple in our Life Group right now that gave their lives to Christ in large part because we invited them INTO those convergence of circles and they loved it there. Here, I mean.

So what about you? Are you willing to become a crop circle person, couple, or family?