What is a Person of Peace?

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Every organization or sub-culture has their own vocabulary. The church, and specifically the missions community, is no exception! UPG, CPM, PoP; when I first came to Plano to work in the office it took me awhile to understand the lingo.
One of the big concepts in the work of my organization (and also the work that I will be doing in Cambodia) is the Person of Peace. Here’s the background:
Luke 10:5-7 When you enter a house, first say: “Peace to this house”. If a man (or person) of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
Jesus had sent the seventy-two workers to the places he was about to go, and he gave specific instructions about how to proclaim the Kingdom. The person of peace in each town was someone who opened up his home to the workers, received their blessing and attention, and listened to what the workers had to say.
One trend in Christianity today is the idea that we have to win someone’s trust in order to share the Gospel with them. This goes against the old idea of “cold call evangelism”, just knocking on a door to share. As I look at Luke 10, I see a different picture from both of these. The workers enter the town and first speak peace. They are proclaiming a message to see if people are interested. We can do this today too. By opening the discussion early on to spiritual things, in a way that is natural and not pushy, we allow people to know we are followers of Jesus and invite them into further discussion. Instead of waiting a long time, perhaps losing the chance to share, the topic is on the table early on. I heard of a story of a worker who was in a closed country for two years. He worked hard to build relationships and win trust, but did not share the Gospel because he didn’t feel he was to a place that he could. Finally after two years he knew he was about to leave to go home, and he shared with a friend about Christ. The person had no idea this man was even a follower of Jesus and he asked, “If this message is so important to you, why did you wait so long to share?”
Christ has given us an incredible message. We should look for people who will respond and engage in discussion as we share and hopefully they will become followers of Him as well.
Here are a few ideas from an overseas worker for how to find a Person of Peace. These can be applied here in the US too!
1.      Get to know neighbors, networks, clubs, etc.  To find People of Peace, you need to spend lots of time where the people are.
2.      Go to places where spiritual people hang out–mosques, graves, religious schools, banyan trees, shaman’s homes, etc. to meet people who are spiritually seeking. 
3.      Figure out ways to “be a blessing”–like community health, teaching, sharing, inviting, etc.–not necessarily “spiritual things” but helping with felt needs, being a good neighbor, etc.  Then PoP’s can show themselves.  We should provide some sort of connection though to our relationship with Jesus.
4.      Take prayer trips (near or far) to pray for resistant areas through prayer walking and use the “Can I pray for you?” tool as people ask what you’re doing or as you see notable needs.
5.      Go out persistently trying to find PoPs.
6.      Get into a real coaching/accountability group where you do the all these together or are accountable to each other for doing them.  This is a huge key to fruitfulness!
7.      Simply and courageously ask the question:  “Instead of us talking about our opinions, how about we study together the Holy Books that God has given us”? (or variation thereof) This is often the missing step!
8.      Follow up contacts from Radio, TV, internet and other mass media ministry. In many places there are many contacts from these ministries but no one is willing to follow them up!
9.      Host an English club where the texts are Bible stories.  This won’t work in many areas, but in others it can be done effectively.
10.  Start a Discovery Group (House Fellowship) with your team and/or national partners then challenge each member of the group to find a group to do the same with. If they can’t find non-Christians, do Discovery Groups with Christians as a way of making disciples and challenge them to do the same thing with people they know.

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