Recently a blog friend, Tim, asked a very practical question:
Just out of curiosity, what methods to you employ in your context to search for persons of peace? This statement made me think of you walking down the sidewalk looking for a person of peace. So, I’m wondering what that type of searching looks like for you. Thanks!
You can see the dialog that this question started in the comment section of Cesar, Man of Peace. However, I’d like to share the core of what we discussed and develop it a bit further.
My Response to Tim’s Question
- Finding the person of peace is not about technique. Every person of peace story I know and every person of peace I have found has been different. Having said that, there are things we can do to find the person of peace. Here’s what I would say:
- When I consistently pray about finding people of peace, I find them. When I don’t focus my prayer on this, I don’t.
- Finding people of peace is about listening to the voice of the Master. Therefore, it is a spiritual exercise based on a loving, abiding relationship, not something we can manufacture.
- Luke 10:5-6 say: “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.” The house mentioned here is the “oikos.” I don’t think it is particularly focused on the building where people live but the connected people who may just live is a particular building…or not; see An Oikos Isn’t a Building.
- This giving of peace, I think, is speaking the gospel of peace, or giving a blessing in the name of the Lord. It is, in essence, making Jesus the potential for conversation. I don’t think it means necessarily giving the whole gospel, just opening the conversation. If the peace rests on them, i.e. they respond and engage, stay there!!! Don’t take off, after having spilled the beans. Focus! On the other hand, if they don’t have interest, don’t cast your pearls before swine. Just move on and look for a real person of peace and a real “oikos” of peace. We focus our attention and energy on people who are moving toward Jesus, not convincing the uninterested that they should be interested.
- With this in mind, apostolic ministry (finding men and houses of peace then making disciples) is about finding ways to make Jesus the subject of conversation. How do we do that? Any way He tells us to, as he speaks to our heart and mind. It is not a matter of us coming up with a clever plan. But, if Jesus gives us a clever plan, then do it.
- Jesus is our model for ministry. Yet little of what we do in ministry nowadays looks anything like what Jesus did, or what he taught his disciples to do. Our idea of ministry has been so damaged by institutionalism, and the individualistic Western worldview, that we find it hard to think about doing ministry as Jesus actually taught us.
- When we start actually doing what Jesus taught his disciples to do, and what he expects us to do, we start bearing fruit. I know this from experience, and it is why I wrote my upcoming book Viral Jesus.
- This kind of actual obedience to Jesus, who speaks to our hearts and minds, should be normative, but is actually very, very rare in the West.
- We have replaced Jesus inspired ministry with what we think of as following biblical principles. Yet, supposed biblical inspired ministry actually ends up not looking at all like what Jesus did? Isn’t that ironic?
- I find myself wondering, and praying about, what would happen if say 500 Christians in the Bay Area of California would just do what Jesus actually speaks to their hearts based on an intimate relationship with him. This would end up reflecting Jesus’ and the apostle’s ministry in the New Testament. Yet, I only know about 20 people in the entire Bay Area that are willing to live like this. Does this make you as sad as it does me?
- I spoke about 500 people in the Bay Area of California actually following Jesus into ministry. What would that look like if all over the world people where doing this?
- I suspect that what we would discover in the West is what our brothers in China began to discover in 1949 and onward (see The Miracle of China and Thank You Chairman Mao). This would be both exciting and dangerous. Are we really interested in something exciting and dangerous? Do we prefer something we can control, even if it ends up being unfruitful?
- Do you agree with me that institutionalism and the Western worldview get in the way of the viral ministry I’m talking about? Why or why not?
- Where do you think the disconnect, between what Jesus did and taught about ministry and what we actually do, comes from? I’ve laid the disconnect at the feet of institutionalism and Western cultural worldview. Do you agree or do you have different ideas?
©2011 Ross Rohde
Posted by permission
Originally posted on Ross Rohde’s blog The Jesus Virus: here