Lifestyles today make integrated and interdependent relationships hard to create and maintain. The absence of this interdependence makes us hunger for community. Most of us manage "linear relationships."
Randy Frazee, author of The Connecting Church, describes linear relationships as running "from one relational unit to another. As you exit one world and enter another, there may be some mention of the people you just left behind, but essentially they are not connected to the present world in any meaningful way" (Making Room for Life, pg. 47).
It is unlikely that you'll be fully known unless other people in your worlds know each other and interact in frequent and meaningful ways. This interaction stands in stark contrast to a linear arrangement, by which an individual has numerous acquaintances whom they really don't know.
Many small group experiences are only a continuation of linear relationships. If your group meets once a week or twice a month for Bible study and fellowship, you may be sharing only one side of yourself. How do you move beyond this linear expression and into a circular relationship through which people will see other sides of you?
Consider some of these suggestions to create more circular relationships:
- Eliminate unnecessary circles. To simplify life, you may need to remove some "worlds" that are making your life stressful and hard to integrate.
- Combine the purposes of two or more circles. If you have a particular hobby or like to exercise a certain way, why not invite a few people from an existing relationship pod to begin participating with you as opposed to forming another activity pod. You will be amazed at the resulting accountability, inside jokes, and shared memories.