You’ve read my story on this blog and the beginning of my transformation three years ago. After years of doubt and guilt, I felt I needed a community of faithful Christians to surround and nurture me, a “Circle of Twelve”. These are people in my life whom I can be honest with, who understand the temptations of the world and who are not afraid to confront me when I get too self-sufficient, too haughty, or too self-centered. I began by inviting one, then two, people to help me in my faith journey. It’s not a support group where we all gather together every so often to share what God is doing in our lives. Quite different, these people don’t know about each other. I have an individual commitment from each of them to support me in a one-on-one relationship. It is also different from other support groups, as I don’t necessarily reciprocate the support. It is like having twelve mentors, or fellow Christians that have agreed to help keep me accountable. By having a dozen people, I don’t wear one person out with my spiritual needs.
A friend told me that I was being too legalistic in my Circle of Twelve. “How can you find exactly twelve people who will agree to support your spiritual journey? Are you sure it isn’t eleven or fifteen?” After some thought, I agreed with him. The exact number is not important. Right now I have thirteen in my Circle of Twelve. However, it is impossible to interact with hundreds of FACEBOOK friends at the intimate level of support that I receive from this group. Twelve is a good round number to keep up with your life and for me to feel comfortable with.
You’ll hear a lot more about the people in my Circle of Twelve and our interactions in my future blogs. We are all the product of our friends and communities; I am a product of these wonderful Christians who understand how tough it is to be faithful in today’s world. But they are always there for me, encouraging me when I have doubts and providing positive reinforcement. The covenantal letter below is the one I use to ask a friend to join my Circle of Twelve. Not for a lifetime, but for 12 months, with a renewal option.
I pray you have loyal Christian friends that are helping you on your journey. If not, please thoughtfully consider duplicating this letter and start by inviting one friend whom you trust to walk with you. Can you think of anyone who inspires your faith that you could reach out to today? If so, I would be interested in hearing about your experiences.
Blessings for your relationships in Christ,
By this letter, I invite you to join my Circle of Twelve for the next twelve months. You have been an inspiration to me and have encouraged my faith so that I have come closer to God. I would like for our special relationship to continue so that I may learn even more from you. By agreeing to be in my Circle of Twelve, I will call you or see you in person every 2 weeks just to stay in touch and so that you might encourage me in my walk of faith. With communication every 2 weeks, we will stay involved in each other’s lives and feel comfortable sharing both old and new joys and sorrows. The path of our lives may cross more often, but if we have not been in touch in the past 2 weeks, it is my responsibility to make the call to you.
You may have a different Circle of Twelve that support you, or we may both be on each other’s lists. You are in my Circle of Twelve because you have already inspired my faith. In addition, when I am dying, I would like for you to be at my bedside comforting me while we await God’s arrival. In this busy world, all twelve that are on the list may not be immediately available to wait with me, but even if one of you can sit at my bedside, it will ensure the presence of God.
I wait in joyful hope that you will join my Circle of Twelve.
With Christ’s love,
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20