I’ve started meeting regularly with one of the men who comes to our core group.
He and his family are recent immigrants, fleeing the political unrest from his home country. Truly, they are starting over.
He is a follower of Christ, and we’ve started meeting recently to discuss topics like
- How to study the Bible.
- How to prepare a message.
- How to effectively evangelize.
After our last meeting, I gave him a scripture passage to study and prepare a message.
The Man of Peace
There is a church planting principle about finding the “person of peace.”
It is a phrase that comes from Luke 10, when Jesus sends out the 72.
In Luke 10:5-6 Jesus said, “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. 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.”
This shows a level of spiritual receptivity. Gary Rohrmeyer writes in Spiritual Conversations:
How does one discern if a Person of Peace is in his or her life? Here are a few things to look for:
- Did they receive you openly into their lives knowing that you are a follower of Jesus?
- Are they open to spiritual conversations? Meaning, you can dialogue with them about spiritual issues without them shutting down emotionally.
- Are they willing to look into the Scriptures with a curious spirit and not a critical one?
- Do they have influence with others? Are they in a position of influence over their family, friends and within the community?
- Is their home a hub of activity for the neighborhood and extended family?
- Do they have the ability to introduce new people into their sphere of influence effectively?
- Do they have a natural ability of including and bringing others to small groups, events or worship services?
The person of peace is essentially a “point person” through whom a church planter can make lots of new connections.
This person may be spiritually seeking, or already a believer who has lots of unchurched contacts. Sometimes it’s a person who has many people seeking them out for spiritual conversations.
Noticing the Person of Peace
This man I’ve stared meeting with seems to be a “person of peace.”
Even though he’s only been in this country for a relatively short amount of time, he has several people approaching him with lots of spiritual questions that he can’t answer.
He wants to learn how to answer their questions with gentleness and respect.
Put another way he’d like to know how to have a deep conversation around those themes. People with tremendous spiritual thirst are seeking him out and he’s not sure how to manage those opportunities to share his faith without killing a conversation.
He wants to help his friends and has turned to me for help. We’ve started meeting for that very reason.
I think in a few weeks, we’ll have a gathering in his house with his friends to talk about their questions and search for answers together.
Let me ask you this?
Who around you seems to be spiritually thirsty? Who around you seems to be really connected to spiritually thirsty people?
My own Evangelism Teaching
I have a DVD set (or digital download) that focuses on a conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:
- casual conversation between friends
- causal conversation between strangers
- covers the same principles I’ve used to share with this person of peace.
Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store.
A download version and a DVD version are available.
I first heard about this person of peace from an Indian evagelist who was travelling through my town (Johor, Malaysia). It made sense, after trying so hard to work through contacts, acquaintances and friends, the results are dismal. Rather then trusting God to point to His man of peace, most place trust elsewhere. To see His kingdom grow with confidence in communities, the spark is in the person of peace. Father, give each of us the wisdom to seek this ‘someone’.
The person of peace is a great idea to follow.
Finding that person of peace takes prayer, patience, and the space to observe.
It also takes discernment since some people are bluffers, meaning they talk a good game about all their friends, but never deliver. They don’t make a good person of peace, but waste your time. I’ve run into a few of those.
Excellent article. Thank you
How can someone who claims not to know Christ ever be classed as a person of peace when they are not at peace with God Himself but are actually at enmity against Him?
James, you’ve asked a fantastic question. The phrase “person of peace” is not connected to their salvation status.
It comes from Luke 10:5-6: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”
It refers to someone who is willing to offer hospitality and welcome to the initial teams that went out. It refers to a social custom of getting into a social circle – does the unofficial leader (social influencer) approve? If you have lived in a small town, there are usually a few people that everyone looks to see if visitors are accepted by them. . .
I’ve experienced this in cross cultural missions – it takes a local leader to open the door for me.
I’ve seen this in getting teenagers to camp – one dad was resposnible for getting 13 more kids to camp simply because he said it was good. Those other parents didn’t know me, didn’t know the camp, but on the word of this one dad, they implicitly trusted him and therefore me.
I’ve seen this in church planting – the first convert, if a person a peace, is such an influencer that many others come to faith as well.