Finding The Person of Peace (Game Tip 1)

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tried to share with MissionTeams and Churches this ‘Counter Intuitive‘;

You Won’t Find People of Peace through Evangelism

That’s right, you did hear right…I did say ‘WON’T

One of the key reasons the teams/missional communities/churches we’ve met had not previously found Persons of Peace is because they were trying to find them using primarily an Evangelistic Mindset (way of being, thinking and acting) as opposed to an Apostolic or even Apostolic-Evangelistic Mindset (see previous post on Fivefold Lenses)

Let me attempt to explain what I mean…

In our experience…when we were engaged in the early days in pure Pioneer Evangelism (between 2006-2007), we would ‘think and act‘ like evangelists which usually meant going to where ‘the largest crowd of people could be found‘ and ‘share the gospel’ with them or go to individuals in the crowd one at a time.

THIS PURELY EVANGELISTIC APPROACH, ON IT’S OWN, IS NOT THE WAY TO FIND PEOPLE OF PEACE!!!

This is what we used to do (hoping to find PoP’s)…we would go to City Centres, Shopping Centres and stand at Carparks outside Supermarkets…you know; those places where there are great Crowds of People. Our thinking in doing this was- ‘if you want to catch fish…go to where there are loads of them’

The ‘problem‘ with this purely evangelistic approach to finding PoP’s is that we would ‘win lots of people to Christ‘ (praying for them there and then) and also see supernatural signs (healing, prophecy, words of knowledge and miracles)…BUT, as these people were ‘Passing People‘- we couldn’t locate them in their social setting…and within their Oikos (which is the key idea of what a Person of Peace is- namely- those who welcome you into their oikos/social circle).

So the only thing we could do next as a result was ‘get their mobile number‘ and then try to ‘follow them up‘ by calling them within a couple of days to arrange a meeting…

Of course, you know what happened, right?

1. Team members would call them up and there would be no response. Or
2. They would go to visit them and they would not be no longer interested.
3. They would arrange to meet them in a random cafe somewhere in the centre of town and they wouldn’t show up.
4. They would arrange to meet them somewhere…and in rare occasions the person would show up…this would then begin a slow tortuous process of 1to1 Discipleship (another practice Jesus never taught, mandated or modelled)

That’s evangelism 101. (Pioneer Evangelism style)

Pioneer Evangelism
In the space of 2 years (2006-2007), we experimented with all sorts of ‘Pioneer Evangelism’ (handing out ‘Jesus-Cards’ to people randomly on the streets, Treasure Hunting, Healing on the Streets, Street Preaching, Tent Meetings, Evangelistic Events and so on) and the results were always the same…we saw more and more people ‘coming to faith in Christ’ in the sense of ‘Praying a Prayer‘ to accept Jesus and also demonstrated the ‘Spirit’s Power‘ (spiritual gifts)…but nothing more.

By the way…if you only want to see the results I’ve just described…do these things…and Pray with persevering prayer with fasting behind the scenes and you will get those results if you keep going and learning as you go (we however, are no longer satisfied with seeing that without making any disciples at the same time)

My notebook, after each day of going out in Pioneer Evangelism (we did at least 3-4 days/evenings a week of this), was replete with amazing stories of ‘Power Encounters‘ and numbers were increasing each time we went out of how many had come to faith that day- I thought I/we were doing really well!

BUT we were making NO DISCIPLES and GATHERING NO CHURCHES
Yes, we were possibly ‘Doing the Work of an Evangelist
And Yes, we learn’t many valuable lessons relating to ‘Preach‘ and ‘Power‘ and ‘Pray’ (three of the 7 Principles we discovered over 10 years relating to what we now refer to as Pioneer Mission).
But on their own Preach and Power and ‘Pray‘ does not automatically lead to Persons of Peace. We need the other 4 ‘Principles’ and Their Related ‘Practices‘ (see here)

To Find Persons of Peace, we need an Upgrade from Pioneer Evangelism (pure evangelistic lens) to Pioneer Mission

Pioneer Mission Game (cheat1)
One Key Idea (‘cheat’ in finding PoP’s quickly) is…instead of targeting large crowds of transient people (Passing People) when searching for Persons of Peace…head for specific People Groups/Places (Principle 2) and go where GROUPS GATHER…it may be homes, cafes, parks, sports teams, hobby groups

So one important difference between Pioneer Evangelism and Pioneer Mission is…

THINK GROUPS NOT INDIVIDUALS

When Jesus sent the 12 and 72 out in 2’s in Luke 10/Matt 10 along the Pioneer Path…he sent them out to Search for Persons of Peace (Matt 10:11) and Enter Their Oikos (household/social circle)…so…

If there’s no Oikos…you’ve NOT found a Person of Peace…

COMMON OBJECTIONS
1. But what if they’ve received healing…doesn’t that make them a Person of Peace…NO!
2. But what if they’ve prayed to Jesus asking him to ‘Come into their Life’…doesn’t that make them a Person of Peace…NO!
3. What if they are just really nice people, does that make them a Person of Peace…NO!

The 10 Lepers That Jesus Healed…were NOT Persons of Peace
The 5000 Jesus Fed and Those Who Wanted to Immediately Crown Jesus as King…were NOT Persons of Peace

Who is the Person of Peace?
The Persons of Peace were those who Welcomed Jesus into Their Oikos!

So Where Are You Likely To Find a Person of Peace…?

Answer…in a Group/Social Circle (Oikos)!

So When Engaging Your Target People Group/Place searching for People of Peace…the main question is…where can we go to Find Groups (ready-made communities)-

The Person of Peace is the one who will ‘Open the Door to Their Group’

We Are Looking for Household (oikos) Salvation not Winning Individuals…
In other words…the aim of the game is to win GROUPS to Jesus and Play Truth+Dare, Bring+Share Games in Circles…this is not a 1 Player Game!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Trevor Hartwig April 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Love it….

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admin April 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for the encouragement Trevor! 🙂

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Trevor Hartwig April 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

One question Peter……and a nosey one…..I notice you travel all over the world at times (it seems)……where do you get the do-rae-me for that? I am still working and have to rely on holidays etc to get out? What is your secret?

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admin April 27, 2014 at 6:20 am

Hey Trevor
‘Father pays for what He orders!’

Since leaving formal education and moving into the inner-city 15 years ago…He has provided

We don’t have a salary…

I set up as sole trader/self-employed as a ‘Creative Trainer’ in 2004/2005

Very few people support us by ‘giving’
Others ‘give to training’ (see http://www.newformsresources.con)

In 2010 I had more than 15 prophetic incidents that changed our focus to ‘become entrepreneurial’

The practical out working of that was to register a company in 2011 called Newforms Enterprise

It took us 10 years to learn some basics of Pioneer Mission

It will perhaps take us 10 years to learn some basics of leading a profitable ‘Kingdom Business’

But that’s for another post 😉

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Erik April 26, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Peter,
This is right on. Powerful and helpful. Planning to reference this in training others. Thanks for this. – Erik

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admin April 27, 2014 at 6:22 am

Thanks Erik!
We really labour this in our training…through stories, discovery scripture and even role playing

But it’s an ingrained mindset and hard to shift

What’s impossible with man though…is possible with God 😉

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Steve Hollinghurst April 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

Pete, like the post – and to add of course Jesus sent out the 12 and 70/72 in a way which meant they had to be the guests of people of peace – i think the shoft in thinking you are rightly talking about is the move from ‘host thinking’ – when we are in charge and dictate what happens – to ‘guest thinking’ – when we meet people in the places where they are host and they are in charge –
keep up the good work and every blessing be with you
Steve

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admin April 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Hi Steve
Yes…when we are ‘host’ we are actually operating often as a ‘Person of Peace’- this is essentially the core idea around ‘Incarnational Mission’ – moving into an area, embedding into the community, serving, earning the right to share the gospel and then gathering those we’ve built up rappour with through ‘presence and proximity’ –

However…the ‘pre-christian’ Persons of Peace already are ‘incarnated’ into their own communities, already are embedded and have the relational glue and social networks and relationships and so we just need to be ‘their guests’ as Pioneers Passing Through!

THEY ARE IN CHARGE…until they decide to submit to King Jesus and we learn from them to do the same 😉

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John White April 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Peter, I like the work you are doing on the “person of peace”. As we know, this person (people) is the critical factor in church planting. (We say that when you find this person, a church is ready to be birthed that day. Think Cornelius.)

However, I think there are a couple of other overlooked elements. The first one comes from asking the hermeneutical question: What did the 84 (72 + 12) understand Jesus to mean when he directed them to this “house of peace” (shalom bayit in Hebrew)? A clue is that none of the 84 raised their hand to ask when He meant when He used that phrase. Too often we have imposed our own (modern) ideas as to what this means.

A second element that we have come to believe is critical is the prayer in Lk 10:2. (The 10:2b Prayer.) Our sense is that one of the two kinds of “harvest workers” we are to ask for is the person of peace. So, everyone in our Community is relentless in praying this prayer daily. And, amazed at the results! A couple of sayings have developed from this … “Before there can be a church planting movement, there must be a prayer movement.” And, “God does the heavy lifting.”

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admin April 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Hey John,
Thanks for your comment.
I agree- PoP is critical factor in ‘church formation’ and when finding one ‘church is ready to be birthed in a day!’

Yes…this phrase would have been understood in it’s context
And We have found many oikos (households)in ‘surprising’ places in Europe
In fact, only yesterday we found a Person of Peace in her oikos (an African Hairdressing Salon in an underground subway station)

And, we do use ‘The 10:2b Prayer’ – as one ‘tool/practice’ in our Pioneer Mission Gaming
We also start and multiply ‘simple houses of prayer’ that focus on specific people groups/places/spheres…pray missional prayers, listen for missional direction from the Spirit, and then go do what He says…on returning…report back all that was said and done…

Thanks so much for the insights you have brought to the Luke 10 Movement bro 🙂

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John White April 27, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Love what you are doing with the 10:2b Prayer, Peter!

So, here’s what we’ve learned about the “house of peace” (that is often overlooked) from Marvin Wilson in “Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith”…

“A shalom bayit is a home marked by the absence of strife. But shalom bayit is far more than a negative concept; it is decisively positive. The Hebrew word shalom is filled with strong and rich imagery. Shalom comes from a very meaning “to be whole, sound, entire, well, complete, perfect.” The rabbis often used shalom as a name for God, in that he is the sum of perfection and accordingly his Messiah is described as sar shalom, “Prince of Peace” (see Is. 9:6). Furthermore, the Hebrew Bible often employs the word shalom in the sense of “be in friendship, in right relations, in harmony” with others. It may also convey the idea of tranquillity, the freedom from strife both externally and internally.” Wilson, p. 217-218.

In other words, a “house of peace” is a place where there are healthy, harmonious relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, as well as with neighbors. Simply welcoming the two man apostolic team is not enough. This means that Cornelius would qualify but not (as is often suggested) the demoniac or the woman at the well.

Why is this important? Because the man and/or woman in that house will likely become the leader(s) of the new church being birthed. Cornelius would again be a good example of this. Whereas the demoniac or the woman at the well would not be ready for leadership. In the NT, a church was understood to be a new spiritual family. The leaders had to be able to function as mature, healthy spiritual moms and dads to that family.

Roger Gehring in “House Church and Mission” supports this understanding. “A well-functioning household (oikos) can only exist upon the foundation of a healthy, intact family. Hence a house church could only be established if a well-functioning family existed. P. 240.

“This means that the leadership structures of the house church did not have to be created out of nothing. “The church in the house came with its leadership so to speak ‘built in’.”…The householders were clearly predestined to carry out pastoral tasks.” Gehring, p. 194.

To go even a step farther, (this is just my speculation now) it may be that, when Paul describes an overseer in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1, he is describing the “person of peace”. Most of his descriptive terms there are simply describing the Hebrew understanding of “shalom”.

This insight is important because it shapes our 10:2b praying. We are not just asking for welcoming people but for homes where the shalom of God has already been at work (whether the inhabitants are already Christians or not).

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admin May 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Thanks John
Some great insights here!

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Aidan April 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

Great! One of the clearest and most direct posts on PoPs I’ve seen.

Very relevant for what we’re doing in Peterborough as we’ve definitely found our PoP- a medium sized community run eco project very warm, generous and well connected in the area.

You say you have a lot of experience of evangelistic missions but how has reaching oikoses through people of peace worked for you too?

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admin April 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Hey Aidan
Great to hear from you!
Would love to hear a bit more of what you’re up to in Peterborough (I went there a while ago to prayer walk and to pray for PoP’s and also the formation of simple missional communities et al)

Yes we have loads of experience and many failures and scars from both evangelistic missions and also since 2008 intentional (as opposed to the previous accidental) searching in far off fields for Persons of Peace. We’ve done it ourselves, and then in our region, then trained and modelled with others across the 12 regions of Britain (see http://www.newformsresources.co.uk and http://www.missionbritain.com) and now travel to the countries of mainland Europe (see http://www.missioneuropa.eu and http://www.newformsresources.eu)

What we pass on in our training is the stuff we’ve learn’t, minus the mistakes (although we share the mistakes in story form and paradigm shifting form to help coach and train others)

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