Posted by: richard | 8 September, 2009

LifeShapes – the Circle

The Circle:  Choosing to Learn from Life

We kicked off the ‘New Passion Fruit Year’ last night by looking at the first of eight “LifeShapes” that provide a simple and memorable way to understand key discipleship principles.

The first is the learning circle, which helps us identify the significant events of our lives in a way that enables us to move deeper into God’s will.  To put it another way, it helps us discern when God is speaking to us through the events of life, and to do something about it.  The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news. –Mark 1:15

As we discussed, the key thing is to look for a “Kairos moment”: a significant event (positive or negative, never neutral; leave an impact on you; signalling an opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally) and then (prayerfully) enter into the circle of learning (3 steps to repentence (=changing one’s mind) and 3 steps to faith (=doing something about it).

The circle is below.  Learn it, use it and start becoming aware of those Kairos moments!

Circle of Learning

Circle of Learning

The steps are below: ORDPAA – “Old Robbie’s Dad Prefers American Airlines” or “Oh, Repent, Dammit, Priests And Archbishops!” 🙂

  • Observe – what happened, and how did you react/feel?
  • Reflect – on your observations.  Why did you feel the way you did?  What does that say about you? Is there a pattern?
  • Discuss – seek the wisdom of others.  Do your observations and reflections make sense?  Do you discern an opportunity for growth?
  • Plan – figure out a practical way to grow.
  • Account – tell somebody about your plan and ask them to follow up with you on it.  How successful will a diet be if you tell no-one?  Or a new regime at the gym if you don’t tell people close to you?
  • Act – do it!

An example Kairos moment could be, say, a mounting credit card bill.  Then the cicle might go (O) what I am buying each month?  do I need all this stuff? has this been going on long? (R) what does this say about my sense of identity? why do I feel the need to buy this stuff? (D) “hi Joe, I’m feeling that money has a bit of a hold over me – can I get your thoughts?” (P) need to cancel all but one card and limit myself to €200 per month spend (A) “hey Joe, can you ask me whether I am under my €200 limit every month?” (A) cut up the credit cards!

If you found this post helpful, I strongly suggest you purchase Building A Discipling Culture by Mike Breen (buy from Amazon here).  The book goes through Life Shapes in detail and explains how best to introduce them to a Christian community.

— Continue the discipleship and mission conversation ! —

Thanks for visiting! We have found Life Shapes really helpful in creating a culture of discipleship and mission as our home group has made the transition to an outward-focused missional community.  Why not follow our new adventures on (or via Twitter or Facebook)



  1. Oooh, did you do that on powerpoint??


  2. “Learn it, use it and start becoming aware of those Kairos moments!”

    None today …

  3. We probably can’t cope with too many Kairos moments at once…. one a week would already be quite a growth challenge, right? I wonder what the typical frequency is? We’ll have to see…

  4. I like the illustration not sure i had a Kairos moment, like Robbie said i need to become more aware.

  5. I think it depends on your personality too, if you’re more sensitive you might have more kairos moments? I feel like I have at least one a day! That’s me – hypersensitive… 😀

  6. I was going to say that I haven’t had any, but just realised that one hit me right between the eyes yesterday (not literally, thankfully).
    Some nasty weeds that need to be pulled and pulled and pulled until they are gone…

  7. Plenty for us to talk about on Tuesday! I think being aware of kairos moments and the growth opportunities they present is something we all need to learn. Too few, and we don’t grow much. Too many, and we never have time to really reflect on and learn from them. A good conversation awaits!

  8. In the middle of a big kairos moment right now, which makes the little ones I mentioned earlier just seem like tantrums! Going well though, it definitely helps to know it’s a process and how to get through it without going backwards…

  9. Thanks for the update Jenni. Have you identified the right person(s) for the “discuss” and “account” stages? (Probably but not necessarily Robbie)

  10. […] this week’s session very powerful and encouraging. People had been on the look out for ‘Kairos moments‘ in their lives where God was speaking to them and we really started to process these as a […]

  11. […] more on the life shape circle, check out this blog post that explains it further than I want to in this […]

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