A framework for circle time

Wooden mannequins pushing puzzle pieces into the right place

When we meet each week for church in a circle, we usually begin and end in prayer. We participate in an open time of sharing, followed by a learning activity, then a coffee break before looking at God’s story. We finish up with communion as a shared meal.

1. DIALOGUE – Open Time.

  • AIM: Create a space for honesty, acceptance, sharing stories. Get people talking early on.
  • STEPS:
    • Introduction – point to Christ as the centre.
    • Open floor – let them speak.
    • Acceptance – listen, care and pray.

2. DISCOVERY – Learning Activity. 

  • AIM: Action-reflection learning, group bonding, flick the learning switch. Create a “no-fail zone”.
  • STEPS:
    • Stimulus – engaging activity involving head, heart & hands. Built-in message, but don’t stress if they discover a different treasure.
    • Response – Ask open-ended reflection questions. Affirm every offering. eg.
      • 1) What happened?
      • 2) How did you feel?
      • 3) What did you learn?

3. DIRECT ACCESS – God’s Story.

  • AIM: Let God’s people get their hands on God’s Word and learn from it directly, not through an interpreter.
  • STEPS:
    • Hear it – tell God’s Story well – make it engaging and clear, and give as much background as needed to make sense of it.
    • Express it – retell it in their own words. Pull-through as a group to check details and sequence.
    • Explore it – ask questions to get people to think through and enter the story.
    • Apply it – contextualise it, and commit to act.

There is flexibility within this framework – we don’t have to stick to the script. The framework exists to provide structure and predictability, and create space for dialogue, participation and empowerment to take place.

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