A principle I encountered in the mid-nineties at a Seven Habits of Highly Effective People seminar has influenced me across the years: the circle of concern and the circle of influence. It is a simple concept, but it has had a profound impact on so many areas of my life.
Recently, because of the pandemic, the unrest in our own country, and now the war in Ukraine, I have refocused my attention on these two circles. Let me explain how they work. In my circle of influence, I find opportunities, challenges, or problems that my actions can impact. In the circle of concern, I find situations that I simply have no ability to influence, like the weather. But often we find more significant issues in that circle that causes us to worry and feel fear and anxiety. A prime example is to think of all that has happened in the last two years.
As I read the articles in this issue of Impact Magazine, I thought about these Haggai leaders and how God is working through them to significantly impact their circle of influence in their own nations. Over the last 53 years, we have observed two things that occur frequently after their Haggai Leader Experience.
First, God elevates the positions of the leaders to expand their already large circle of influence for the cause of the Kingdom. It reminds me of the prayer of Jabez, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” (1 Chronicles 4:10). God honors their passion for and commitment to reaching their nations with the Gospel by doing just that.
The other observation is this. Circumstances and challenges in Haggai leaders’ countries loom large and are at times very threatening. However, Haggai leaders are not paralyzed by the enormity of these issues; the issues in their “circle of concern.” Instead, God gives them new eyes to see people and situations that they simply had not noticed in their circles of influence, calling them to take actions that make a difference. Dr. Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika is a great example of this, as are all the leaders featured in this issue.
My heart has always been drawn to missions, and before Haggai, I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more. As a child, I admired and loved Lottie Moon, the missionary who spent nearly 40 years living and working in China. At times I thought perhaps I should go to the mission field.
But then my heart found a home when I was called to Haggai. Its mission and vision made such sense! Like you, I could support those who were already living in the places that needed Jesus the most — I could be a partner in the Gospel! And, a partner in PRAYER! These were in my circle of influence. Every time I reflect on my engagement with Haggai, I smile. Like you, God did send me to the mission field to make a difference in the lives of people who don’t know Jesus — just not in the way that I had imagined!
Please join me in praying for our leaders across the globe; for our Ukrainian staff member Maia in Kyiv and for the 32 other leaders in that country; and for the 2.2 billion who need to hear about Jesus!
We are grateful for your partnership in ending Gospel poverty.
For the Gospel,
Dr. Bev Williams
CEO, Haggai International