The Kairos Circle, or the Learning Circle, is a learning tool used by some Christian and secular groups to assess experience and promote personal improvement and lasting change. In a Christian context, the Kairos Circle is designed to aid discipleship by guiding an individual or small group through opportunities to learn life lessons.
Starting with a “Kairos Moment,” in which God has supposedly spoken in some way, the learners focus on six things: Observation, Reflection, Discussion, Planning, Accountability, and Action. The first three items in the cycle (Observe, Reflect, and Discuss) are labeled as steps in “repentance.” The last three items (Plan, Account, and Act) are considered steps in “belief.” So, the Kairos Circle is a way of diagramming repentance and faith in response to God’s corrective measures. The two basic questions to be answered are “What is God trying to say to me?” and “How am I going to respond?”
The word kairos is Greek for “opportunity” or “fitting time.” The Bible uses the word kairos and its cognates several places in the New Testament (e.g., in Luke 19:44 and Acts 24:25). Promoters of this discipleship tool point to Jesus’ first recorded sermon in Mark 1:15 as an example of a “Kairos Moment”: “The time has come. . . . The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” When the people of Israel were confronted with Jesus’ life-changing message, they had an opportunity (a kairos) and a responsibility to respond appropriately. Similarly, when Jesus called James and John to follow Him, they had a window of opportunity—would they leave all and follow Christ, or would they stay with their fish nets?
The Bible does not speak of a “Kairos Circle” or a “Kairos Moment.” These are manmade terms. However, the concept of looking for God’s hand, learning from experience, and applying God’s Word is biblical. The Kairos Circle is drawn from a knowledge of how people learn and an assurance that God wants us to grow (Hebrews 5:12).
Following the steps of the Kairos Circle can be beneficial, if it causes one to focus more on the Word of God. The Bible tells us to mediate on God’s Word (Psalm 1) and put it into practice (James 1:22). We should also learn lessons from the events in our lives. After hearing a sermon, for example, it is good to reflect on the message, discuss it with someone, think of applications, and then act on what was learned. The same thing is true for going on a mission trip, meeting a person in need, having a car accident, or finding a job.
The Bible promotes learning and commands us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). If following the Kairos Circle can help us to reach that goal, then it is useful.