How to Know Someone is Not a Person of Peace – Disciple Making Movements

not a person of peace

Salaam Alaikum,” said the Muslim man who greeted me. I replied with the traditional response, “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.” The phrase means “Peace be upon you.” My response meant “And upon you as well.” The Jews use a similar phrase of salutation. It is the word “shalom.” Blessing those you greet with peace is a well-known tradition in Middle Eastern cultures. Is this what Jesus referred to when He spoke to His disciples about the Person of Peace in Luke 10?

“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. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”

Luke 10:5-7 NIV.

It could be that Jesus’ disciples were to greet people with that word “shalom.” If peace rested there and was received, they were to stay with that person. I believe Jesus was taking this a step further. A person of peace would not only receive His true peace, but would also promote the spread of that peace to others.

This important passage in Luke 10 has become a foundational scripture for those who work to start Disciple Making Movements. In this blog, we will explore this concept further.

Finding a Person of Peace

We only find one clear reference to finding a person of peace in the Bible. But there are many reasons why Disciple Making Movement trainers feel finding a Person of Peace is crucial to starting a movement.

I first heard the term Person (or Man) of Peace more than twenty-five years ago. Since that time, in each place I’ve lived, my eyes have always been watchful for who might be a Person of Peace in my community. Honestly, I’ve had several false starts. There have been times when I was sure someone was a Person of Peace. We were so excited! God was going to work through this person to launch a movement!

Then, after six months or a year, we would come to realize that they actually were not a Person of Peace. How disappointing that was! We had invested much time and energy into a relationship with someone, only to find out that they were not very serious about following Jesus.

Since then, I’ve learned to be a bit more cautious about declaring someone is a Person of Peace. With that word of caution in place, I still believe that this principle is key to starting a movement.

Why You Need to Find a Person of Peace (POP)

1) Finding a POP creates an instant network of relationships within a community.

This is extremely helpful to you in launching a movement. For you to develop those, as an outsider, would take a lifetime! By entering their network, the message of Jesus can easily and quickly flow to many.

2) A Person of Peace (POP) enables you to lead from behind.

There is great value to working through an insider, rather than leading from the front. You want to work through people who know the culture, worldview, and behavior of the community. Even if you are from that same area and culture, if you have been a Christian for a long time, you likely have forgotten how people think.

A new believer will be much more in touch with their people than you are. By encouraging them to be the ones who promote peace (share Jesus) to their network, the gospel will naturally be contextualized. This is true unless you pull them too strongly into traditional church culture and the Christian community (bubble) – a very real danger.

3) The POP allows you to plan your exit from day one.

Our role is not to stay in a new unreached community forever. We are there to share the gospel. We make disciple-makers, start groups that become churches and multiply. Then we move on to new places still waiting to hear!

If you do all the upfront ministry yourself, you will not be able to leave anytime soon. But, if you work through a Person of Peace, you can. Within a short amount of time, you will be able to exit.

How to Know Someone is not a Person of Peace

1) They show interest in you, but don’t commit to following Jesus.

This is the biggest mistake I’ve seen people make. If you are working cross-culturally you may have a lot of power points (status, education, money, etc). People may be attracted to you for reasons that have nothing to do with the gospel. Having relationships with powerful people is beneficial for economic and social reasons.

This is all the more reason for us to go into communities with simplicity -see Jesus’ other instructions in Luke 10:4 about not taking extra sandals.

Fairly quickly (within a few visits) ask them to take steps of faith and obedience to Jesus. This may include asking them to consider water baptism. They may need to forgive someone who offended them. If they are hesitant, they may not be a Person of Peace. Then, follow my suggestions below.

2) They want to learn, but don’t share what they learn with others.

The NIV translation for Luke 10: 5-7 uses the phrase “promotes peace” to describe a Person of Peace. Not only do they receive the gospel message of peace, they want others to accept Jesus too. If you do not see them immediately doing this, they may be a candidate for salvation, but are not a Person of Peace. They will not be the person who you will work through to reach that area. Keep evangelizing until you find that person.

What to Do When You Realize They Are Not a Person of Peace

This is a hard one, but Jesus’ instruction in Luke 10 is clear. When our message is not received, we are to move on. We are to “shake the dust off our feet” (Luke 10:11). Whether that means moving on to a different community, village or simply moving on to focus on other people, it is still painful. Even more so if we have invested heavily in friendship and time.

This is why I strongly urge disciple-makers to share the gospel quickly in the relationship process.

Do not wait until the friendship is strong before letting them know that you have a message to share! In the name of building trust and relationship, many people wait far too long to share their message. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to share. And if the message is not received, the harder it is to move on.

You will not find the Person of Peace if you are investing all your time in relationships (friendship evangelism) with people who are not open.

Go Find Them!

It is a significant milestone in moving toward a DMM when you identify the Person of Peace in a community. If you have already done this, be sure to celebrate it! Thank God and give Him praise! If you haven’t yet, keep sowing gospel seed. They are out there. God has already chosen them. Your job is to find them.

Do you have a question? Or a story about finding a Person of Peace? I’d love to hear from you on the DMM Facebook group or in the comments below.

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