Foundations for MCs: Finding the Person of Peace

Finding the Person of Peace is a very important principle in our leading of a Missional Community. Jesus sets out the Person of Peace strategy in Luke 10:1-16. Jesus commissioned the 72 disciples to go out ahead of him and to proclaim the coming kingdom of God. He sets out for them how to go about it. They are to centre their ministry around a Person of Peace.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’, If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not it will return to you.” Luke 10:5-6

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This Person of Peace was someone who welcomed them into their home, was open to their message and served them. Jesus tells them that once they’ve found one of these people,

“Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you. Do not move around from house to house.” Luke 10:7

In other words when you have found your Person of Peace stay where you are and don’t move around. Work with them and share the message of the kingdom and the King with them.

For us the message is the same. As we are going about our daily lives we need to be on the lookout for people who know we are a follower of Jesus and welcome us, listen to us, are open to us and seek to serve us in some way. Very simply a Person of Peace is someone who is prepared to hear the message of the kingdom and the King.

So often we make things hard for ourselves and the people in our Missional Communities by not following this simple and uncomplicated teaching of Jesus. Go and find the people who welcome you, who make it easy for you to talk about Jesus. They are the people who will listen to you and will respond to your invitation to join in with some of your activities.

An example of this is a Missional Community that met in a Community Hall. They began by renting the hall from the Community Association at the normal cost. Over time as they got to know the people who ran the Association they began to get involved in some of the things that were held in the hall. They helped set up and clear away, make teas and coffees etc. Eventually they were invited to become members of the Community Association and one of the MC leaders joined the committee. This opened up many opportunities to show the love of Jesus to the community. It also meant that they got a lower rent which enabled them to invest more in to serving the community. People would ‘call in’ on the group to see what was going on and this opened opportunities to talk about Jesus. People began to come to them and ask for prayer for healing and they did see answers to their prayers.

Next to the hall are some allotments and each time they met on a Sunday morning some of the members of the MC went out with tea, coffee and biscuits for the people working there. Again over time they built relationships with some of the people and began to invite them to a brunch the MC held every 6 weeks. People began to come and hear more about Jesus.

For the members of the Missional Community this was a very liberating process. They didn’t see this as a big evangelistic effort; it was doing something ‘normal’ and unthreatening. They also began to tell of how this had enabled them to apply the same principle with the people they worked with, their neighbours, people they met in the shops. They began to notice what God was already doing and join in.

If we want to give our Missional Communities firm foundations it is important that we use the Person of Peace teaching especially as the basis for mission.

“In the life of a Missional Community the Person of Peace strategy is a way of seeing what God is already doing in your mission context. Finding a Person of Peace means discovering where God is already at work in the neighbourhood or network of relationships you’re seeking to reach.”

(from Leading Missional Communities)

My own experience is that once I had grasped this principle and began to apply it in leading Missional Communities things got so much easier for everyone. We were just looking for the people God is already preparing.

Find the people around you in whom God is already working and join God there!

For more on this subject I do recommend ‘Leading Missional Communities’ by Mike Breen and the 3DM Team.

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David Rosser lives in Durham with his wife Jenny. They have been involved in the development and implementation of missional communities for the past 12 years.

photo courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com

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