Concentric Circles of Concern is quite an old book (1981) which I recently re-read. It always surprises me when I re-read a book and discover that it doesn’t say what I thought it would! Presumably my mind only remembers the points that were important to me at the time.
The author, Oscar Thompson, was looking for a way of teaching evangelism to Bible College students and came up with the concept of concentric circles. The concept grew from the knowledge that the gospel travels via relationships. Stories of people meeting someone on a plane and leading them to faith are rare and surprising. It’s more normal for people to become Christians because they have a relationship with someone who is already a Christian. If our desire is to evangelise then we begin by praying for those people who are already in our lives. Thompson uses concentric circles as a means of illustrating this principal. The first circle is ourselves and the next circle is immediate family, then relatives, close friends, neighbours (and business associates), acquaintances and finally person X (such as the person we meet on a plane).
In my memory I thought the whole book was about these circles, but I found that only the first four chapters explained the circles and the remainder of the book is about prayer, intercession, showing love and building relationships.
The book has a strong American flavour nevertheless, Thompson writes in an easy to read, conversational manner. Some of the material in the book has dated, but the principals remain relevant today.
A worthwhile read.