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CIRCLES: FiveFold Thinking (A Team Development Game)


A Recent Film; ‘Divergent‘ lays out the idea that each person is born into a particular ‘faction‘…but then when that person ‘comes of age’ (at 16) they can choose for themselves which ‘section’ they should subsequently belong to

The Five ‘sections’ are:


Those who fit none of those factions, or have aspects of some or all are ‘Divergent’ and subsequently ‘hunted down’ so that society can be ‘controlled’

It’s interesting that a passage in the Bible (Ephesians 4:11) describes 5 types of people that are given to build up the Body of Christ on Earth…namely:


But these are given, not so the Body would be ‘controlled’…but so that the Body would be ‘built up, strengthened and matured’ (but we’re getting ahead of ourselves- let’s get back to the film)

The Five Factions of the film; Divergent, seem to display demeanor, values and beliefs strangely similar to the above Ephesians 4 list… (apostles- abnegation, prophets- candor, evangelists- dauntless, shepherds- amity, teachers- erudite)

Neil Cole describes those in the Ephesians text as the 4:11 Team, whilst Alan Hirsch refers to these as APEST gifting…those in the early Charismatic Movement formed national teams with members who represented Ephesians 4 ministries (Apostolic Teams)

What is clear from the scripture is that these gifts are for the ‘equipping of the saints for works of service’ until the Body becomes mature in Christ and grows as each part does its own special work

Whilst in the early days of rediscovering these ‘gifts were still for today‘ (namely- that there is indeed Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers alive and operational in today’s world and Church)…Those viewed in those terms were largely seen on ‘Platforms‘- i.e. leaders who mainly demonstrated their charisma in front of large and passive audiences and were given titles, position and often adulation, and, unfortunately, at times, almost ‘hero worship’

However since the advent of the House Church Movement (beginning in the Early Church, then evident at the prophetic fringes, early beginnings of movements throughout Church history, in the persecuted church throughout the ages, including more recently, China, spreading to South East Asia and then since the turn of the 21st Century leap frogging over to America and rebranded Simple Church, Organic Church and Missional Community et al) the focus is slowly shifting from FiveFold Gifted Superstar Leaders who demonstrate their power and authority from the stage, to an Army of Ordinary People who begin to recognise that they each have leanings towards one of five ‘types’ in the Body of Christ. In other words, we are moving from watching Demonstrators to multiplying Reproducers…

In this new understanding of the purpose of Ephesians 4:11, Ephesians 4:1-10 and 4:13-16 have been reappropriated.

What if the hypothesis of ‘Divergent’ is true…and we all indeed have leanings towards one of the 5-gifts of Ephesians (as Mike Breen has articulated so well) Therein, some of us would be more apostolic (with a small ‘a’), whilst others are more pastoral (shepherd) or didactic (teacher) or evangelistic or prophetic

Whilst these developments of a ‘saints movement‘ have been encouraging…and where there is now growing understanding of descriptions and definitions of these ‘5 gifts’. There is still often a lack of a ‘working understanding‘ of how these gifted people actually relate to one another in teams on actual projects or in ‘real life’

You will have heard it said ‘Birds of a feather flock together‘, and ‘like attracts like’. Difference often repels. So it’s common and not surprising to find prophetic people who like to spend much of their time with other prophetic people like themselves (often in prayer and worship or protest). And evangelists who sometimes mix with other evangelistic people (usually whilst out on task engaged with those far from church)

Out of our experience working in mixed diverse teams for more than 15 years, Newforms have created games and tools to help go beyond ‘gift and ministry identification’ to understanding how the different gifts can work effectively together in order to build movementum!

We call this framework of tools ‘FiveFold Thinking’ games

These games and tools help people ‘see’ through different ‘lenses‘ simultaneously

Each of the FiveFold gifts is likened to a different colour. A way of seeing the world. (Like Edward De Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats‘ but using the analogy of coloured lenses to represent the ‘Fivefold Ministries’)

We encourage teams to work together in viewing the ‘problems‘ and ‘possibilities‘ they are encountering through these five different ‘lenses’.

Teams pick up (either concretely or metaphorically) one coloured lens at a time and each person takes it in turns to view the situation through that lens and respond to the problem/possibility objectively from an apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral or didactic perspective (depending on which lens they ‘picked’ up)

For example:
(BLUE) By picking up the blue lens, the team would focus on the problem at hand through an apostolic perspective

(PURPLE)…by viewing the situation through the purple lens, the team would all take it in turns to perceive and then solve the problem with prophetic solutions

(RED)…by taking on an evangelistic viewpoint (red lens)…the team would approach the difficulty and aim to bring evangelistic ideas

(GREEN)…the solution to the problem would be sought through pastoral sensitivities (green lens)

(YELLOW)…by using the yellow lens, problems would be solved by bringing the didactic perspectives of the teaching gift

Newforms use the ‘MultiCircle‘ icon (represented above) as a visual tool and game to enhance this learning experience for Developing Leaders and Teams based on FiveFold and Parallel Thinking (multi-dimensional and multi-coloured thinking) techniques

The ‘PlayCircle‘ in the centre represents ‘church’ (simple organic missional type) as the Church of Jesus is formed as disciples of Jesus practice Faith (UP), Love (IN) and Hope (Out) together in a ‘Bring+Share‘ culture, as Jesus-Centred Extended Families on Mission (Oikos) where ‘everyone get’s to play‘ (participate)

The ‘5 Lenses‘ that make up the outer circle (again, see above), represent the 5-Gifts of Jesus present in His Church that helps the Church to grow and multiply rapidly as disciples discover their gifts and use them faithfully thus fulfilling their unique role in the Body of Christ

FiveFold Thinking and MultiCircle and PlayCircle are just one set of tools and games Newforms are developing to help and serve churches, organizations and an army of ordinary people in the multiplication of disciples, leaders, churches, tribes and movements until there’s NO PLACE LEFT in Europe and Beyond…

If you would like to know more on how to play this and other ‘games’ contact us and book a Taster or Training Workshop

Let The Games Begin…

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