What is the person of peace? It's a term that is increasingly used both in the church and in the mission field. Practitioners of disciple making movements (DMM) often talk of searching for the person of peace and yet different groups use the term in different ways. All are correct but for those just beginning to explore the idea of the Person of Peace, a clarification might be in order.
Some define the Person of Peace (PoP) as anyone who welcomes and opens up their relational network to to the messenger - be that a missionary or a local lay believer crossing the street in their neighborhood. In this use, the PoP doesn't necessarily need to be someone who initially accepts the message, but rather gives permission to the messenger to share with the group. They are often a gatekeeper of sorts - an elder of the village or the patriarch of a family. God is using them to open the door for the message to go forward in their context. This is also sometimes referred to as a House of Peace.
A second way the idea of the Person of Peace is used is to simply indicate someone whom God has prepared to receive the gospel. They are a seeker, a God prepared person. Perhaps they've had a dream or a vision or have had a crisis in life that caused them to do some deep soul searching. Their heart is prepared to respond to the gospel. They are ready to receive the messenger and the message.
A final way I often hear to idea of the Person of Peace discussed is that they not only are prepared to receive the gospel, but they are also ready and able to reproduce and share the good news with other. They receive the message and the messenger but they also readily receive the mission. When the woman at the well believes Jesus in John 4 she immediately takes that message back to he village where she tells everyone the good news and brings them to Jesus. Many would also refer to this person as a "Fourth Soil Person" who reproduces 30, 60 or 100 times from the Parable of the Sower.
All of these definitions work but as you are reading the literature or listening to interviews with practitioners, it is helpful to understand how they are using the term. It was a bit confusing for me the first time I ran into the different ways it was being used.
Perhaps there are other ways to think about the Person of Peace. If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Until then, I'd encourage you to download this discovery tool to help you learn about the Person of Peace from Jesus' ministry in the gospels. Trainer's notes are included on page three.
When Jesus told his disciples in Luke 10:2 that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few he was making a statement of fact. His encouragement was to pray for more harvesters and when he later delivered the great commission in Matthew 28, the marching orders for followers of Christ and his church became clear: Jesus came to seek and save the lost and his plan to accomplish the task was built on the development of disciples who make disciples. Out of this disciple making milieu churches naturally form. God gets the glory and the kingdom of Jesus expands. The simple creed, to know God and make him known, stands as a summary of the message of the Bible and the life purpose of any Christian.
As we cast our gaze back through church history we see the story of a church stumbling forward in this endeavor, sometimes embracing it wholeheartedly, sometimes distracted and faltering, sometimes accomplishing it through the divine push of the Spirit of God. The very first generation of Christians was laser focused on making disciples. They proclaimed the gospel boldly and God added to their numbers steadily (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14, 42; 6:7). Outside of Philip however, few ventured beyond the walls of Jerusalem. And then, with the martyrdom of Stephen, God seems to have given His church a divine push and a ragtag collection of relatively new Christians soon scattered across the refugee road and “preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4). The church, a family of ordinary, unschooled men and women living on the fringe of society, turned the Roman world upside down.
Each successive generation has had to discover their own role in obeying the great commission. At times the church has remained true to the core missionary task and at other times the church has turned inward, succumbed to the distracting lure of political power or simply capitulated to the ways of the world. Always there was a remnant and that remnant continued to follow Jesus into the harvest among those who had not yet heard. As the world grew and changed, the church adapted with it. New technologies and innovations opened up new opportunities to carry the gospel forward. The printing press allowed for the mass printing of Bibles and gospel tracts. The steam engine carried missionaries further, faster. The radio opened up the door to broadcasting the good news into the places Christian workers weren’t allowed.
Missiologist Doug Birdsall observed that, “The Great Commission is for every church in every culture in every generation. There are no exclusions. But . . . every church in every culture in every generation must determine the way in which they respond to this responsibility -- in a way that is appropriate to time and context.” Philip the Evangelist thought about his role in completing the great commission in completely different ways than Hudson Taylor did 1800 years later when he boarded a ship to China. And when Jim Elliot and Nate Saint dropped a bucket on a string out of a circling plane over the Amazon jungle they too innovated in order to take the gospel forward.
Today our world has changed in extraordinary ways. Globalization has led to the migrations of people across the globe in unprecedented numbers and now people groups once hidden in far away lands are living down the street. Technology has opened up doors of communication that never before existed. Where the printing press gave rise to the gospel tract, the internet has opened doors to place gospel messages on the smartphones in the hands of men and women who have never met a follower of Christ.
We can all agree that the Internet is a double edged sword carrying in its networks unimaginable power for both good and evil. And yet our redeemer God has led His church to utilize this new technology for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom. Mission agencies around the world are using social media marketing tools in order to connect with the hidden seekers scattered throughout every region, people group and religion.
One group serving in a Muslim majority country saw all in person connections shut down because of Covid in early 2020. After catching their breath and mourning the loss of ministry as they knew it, they began to run Facebook ads throughout the region. Within a few months they had engaged in more gospel conversations and seen more people come to faith than in the previous years they’d been in the country. Two young teenage girls who had been secret believers for over a year responded to one of those ads and for the first time were connected with other followers of Christ.
But it’s not only missionaries and professionals who are able to do this kind of work. Today, with a little coaching and some simple training, any follower of Christ with an Internet connection can begin building relationships with the unreached in the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and tribal worlds – the church unleashed into the global harvest, partnering in the great commission as never before, being the answer to Jesus’ prayer for more harvesters.
A retired teacher in a small town in the Midwest heard about Crescent Project and the Embassy ministry and was soon connecting with English teachers through a Facebook group for teachers in the Middle East. She now regularly texts and calls with a handful of new friends - all of them are Muslim. She is the first true Christian any of them has met and she is praying for them daily, sharing regular testimonies of God’s faithfulness and, with two of these dear teachers, they have begun reading the Bible together.
A college student in London was watching a live soccer match on Youtube when he noticed that many of the people adding comments on the live chat were Hindi names. He began to interact and was able to connect with two new Hindu friends from East Asia - in a live chat on Youtube while watching a soccer match. Who knows where God will lead these young men as they begin to ask questions and hear about the good news from a twenty year old Brit.
Another Embassy volunteer was pleasantly surprised to find out that the young Iranian woman with whom she’d connected on a language learning app had recently become a Christian. A sister in Christ from Brazil had already been connecting with her, shared the gospel and led her to faith. In what the Embassy volunteer would say was one of the most powerful zoom calls of her life, these three sisters gathered together to share testimonies, read the Bible, worship and pray together.
God is on the move. He has always been on the move and has never missed an opportunity to redeem new technologies and innovations. Over 5 billion people in the world, if asked today, would say that they are not a Christian. 3.3 billion of those are a part of unreached people groups, ethnic groups without an indigenous, self-propagating Christian church. Many of them have never met a follower of Christ, have never read a Bible and have never been in a church. We must continue to raise up and send missionaries into these least reached regions of our planet - we must do so and we must send more.
But for those of us who are not going, we too can be a part of Christ’s harvest force. It will take a tenacious curiosity and teamwork and the expertise of those among us familiar with these new technologies. More than anything, like always, we’ll need to be faithful. Faithful like the two dear sisters who are vision impaired who have joined the Embassy team. Faithful like the many seventy and eighty year olds and the university students who are reaching out online and meeting Muslims. They too are a part of the Embassy ministry.
At Crescent Project, we would love to give you the training and the onramps to begin to reach out, connect with and share the love of Jesus with Muslims. There are other great organizations who can help you get started as well. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few - join with me in praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into those harvest fields.
Sometimes we catch glimpses of grace and truth in the unfolding realities of the world around us. Other times grace and truth come to us through the ugly realities of our own actions. Either way, we have an opportunity to learn. This poem was written in Istanbul, Turkey in 2009.
I saw you today.
Walking past my office window,
dumpster to dumpster with drag foot strides.
I saw you - all of you.
You two mothers pushing your finds in converted baby buggies,
babies slung over bent backs,
one tugging at the slack edge of a scarlet head scarf.
Your three and four year olds –
boys in rags and broken sandals –
sometimes behind, sometimes squirting ahead,
but always walking wearily,
wary of the ways of the back of your hand.
Harsh hands and harsher words carry them down dumpster lined streets.
The four year old’s mother
hands an unpeeled orange to his open hand,
rescued from refuse, but fails to peel it.
He makes a marvelous mess of pulp and juice before she,
the giver, the guardian,
slaps it from his greedy fingers.
On they walk,
on into their gypsy life,
their wandering life,
their hungry life,
And they disappear.
a father came.
A father with another four year old
and another converted baby buggy
and another journey down an Istanbul street,
dumpster to dumpster, market to market,
meal to meal to find to find.
He stopped the buggy behind a black Mercedes,
said stay – to the buggy and the boy –
and crossed to a waiting meal in the market trash.
The boy stayed,
lips moving – presumably for himself though I could not hear,
fingers fondling the days find.
But then a man approached,
middle aged and well dressed,
talking kind words to the boy, beckoning –
And the boy went, without qualm
quickly on his heels and into the next door store.
But then the father returned,
smiling at the two bruised apples and a smashed orange in his hands
to find the buggy but not the boy.
I saw it then.
I saw how much love he harbored in his tired heart for his son.
I saw it in the fear that crept into his eyes.
I saw it in the terror of his movements
and in the two new bruises the apples received
as they hit the concrete at his broken sandals.
I saw it in his hands, cupped around shouting lips –
I saw it in the flood of relief that his smiling son
gave him when he bolted from the store,
cookies clutched in jubilant hands.
A broken heart was not broken more.
The middle aged man walked past the two,
a silent Samaritan not letting left know what right had done.
On he walked,
on into his Muslim life,
his secular life,
his blessed life.
And he disappeared.
I walk home along the sea,
praying for this nation,
praying for grace and discernment to be salt and light to this land.
I stop at the store,
mindlessly buying four kinds of noodles,
not knowing what we’ll make with them.
My groceries and I make our way to the tunnel where
I will cross the tracks and head for home.
On a concrete bench
Sit two tired teenage boys.
“Mister, we’re hungry. Do you have any food? Do you have any money?”
I stop, surprised.
“Would you like some noodles?”
I offer to blank stares and then add –
“You can cook them at home.”
Their look tells me they may not have a home.
“We’re hungry mister. Do you have any money?”
I turn and I walk
And I cross the tracks
And walk from them
But the five lira in my pocket doesn’t disappear.
And the words of Jesus don’t disappear.
“You will always have the poor among you.”
It seems now more a command than a fact.
A command I’ve missed through a sham of fact.
If the poor are not among us,
Could it be we disobey?
I surely did today.
I surely did today.
As we immerse ourselves in the story of the scriptures, we allow the Holy Spirit to use them to shape our view of the world, of ministry and of ourselves. Scripture hammer trainings allow a trainer to step out of the way and allow the Bible to do the heavy lifting of the training. They require little charism on the part of the trainer, are hard to argue with and place a tool in the hands of those we are training that is immediately reproducible.
The basic idea is to create a list of scriptures that all point toward the basic Biblical principle or lesson you are wanting your trainees to grasp. A scripture hammer study is best done in groups of 2-5 and then debriefed as a group. You can create your own for any topic you'd like to train on.
I've created a one page handout with six scripture hammer studies that I've learned from others and that I've been using to train. The focus of these particular studies are:
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SIX STUDIES]
I've written previously about a few of these topic and you can check those out at the links below:
A good friend shared Job 39:13-18 with me a few weeks ago and I've been continuing to learn from the topic of that particular passage: the ostrich.
I've been able to share with the Lord has been teaching me in two different churches in the last month and so thought I'd share it here as well. May it encourage you to discover the unique ways that you have been gifted and the unique ways that God is wanting to work through you to expand His kingdom and declare His glory.
You can watch the sermon above.
While coronavirus has caused a lot of disruption in our world it has also created some great new opportunities. Crescent Project's annual national conference has needed to adjust and has moved online.
Introducing the Hope Conference. More accessible than ever and FREE, Hope Conference will happen Thursday September 10th from 9 am - 2 pm central time. The event will feature top notch speakers, opportunities to interact with mission mobilizers, missionaries, former Muslims and Crescent Project staff and all of this will happen online.
This will be a great opportunity to be encouraged and equipped to join the work that God is doing in the Muslim world.
Watch alone or gather some friends!
A short video sharing a framework for understanding suffering. This framework has helped me understand the role of suffering in the life of the disciple of Jesus. The sound quality isn't perfect, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. What would you add to this framework? How have you been developing a theology of suffering?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
World Christians are (in Corrie Ten Boom’s phrase) “tramps for the Lord” who have left their hiding places to roam the Gap with the Savior. They are heaven’s expatriates, camping where the kingdom is best served. They are earth’s dispossessed, who’ve journeyed forth to give a dying world not only the Gospel but their own souls as well. They are members of God’s global dispersion down through history and out through the nations, reaching the unreached and blessing the families of earth.
Do you want to be a "tramp for the Lord"?
Do you want to roam the Gap with the savior?
Do you want to journey fourth to give a dying world the good news of Jesus?
Start by reading David Bryant's article, To Be A World Christian.
Contact Us and we'll work to encourage and equip to you go into the harvest, locally, regionally and globally.
In the 18th chapter of the book of Luke, Jesus encounters the rich young ruler. If you’ve been a follower of Christ for long, it is probably a familiar story. If not, stop and read it here.
A devout man approaches Jesus wondering what he must do to be saved. Jesus walks through the commandments - have you obeyed these? The man replies confidently that he has kept the commands all of his life. And then Jesus does a curious thing. He asks the man to do one more thing: sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.
The story follows that, because the man was very wealthy he became very sad and presumably, walked away. Following Jesus is a tall order.
My friend Justin uses this story in trainings to highlight the reality that Jesus isn’t looking for lukewarm Christians. This isn’t the only time that Jesus’ words and teaching drive away potential followers. There’s that crazy scene in John 6 where “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Jesus is looking for committed disciples. He will build his kingdom not with crowds but with dedicated disciples. While the world yearns for numbers, Jesus is looking for committed men and women.
Justin lays out what this commitment might look like using the great commission. He draws out five commitments from the passage and they provide a helpful rubric through which I can reflect on my own heart. I think they will be helpful for you as well.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Five Commitments To Be A Disciple of Jesus
It starts with our willingness and commitment. If you are a leader, a good question to ask first is, "Am I willing?" but the next question has to be, "Are the people I am investing in willing?" Are they committed disciples or merely lukewarm attendees. You can fill the pews with the latter but Jesus wants to transform your community, your city, your state and nation - he will turn the world upside down with unschooled, ordinary men and women if they will commit themselves to living the surrendered life and being with Jesus.
As we answer this question we can begin working toward the next question as well: Are they able?
It is no mistake that Jesus bookends his commission with authority and presence. I can do much in my own power but Jesus reminds me that unless I live the surrendered life which I can only do if I abide in Him and experience His presence, little of what I do will have any eternal impact.
Justin leads a great ministry called Primary. He would love to come alongside you and coach you and your fellowship into the committed life of disciple making. Contact Justin
One of the number one reasons former Muslims give for leaving Islam and coming to faith in Christ is that they met a true follower of Jesus. The challenge is that the vast majority of the 1.8 billion Muslims in our world today live in places where there are no followers of Jesus. In Turkey for example, a nation of over 80 million, fewer than 10,000 have left Islam to follow Christ and eighteen of the country’s 81 provinces have no known churches. Most Turks will not hear a clear presentation of the gospel this year - perhaps not in their lifetime. They won’t have a friend who is a follower of Jesus.
It is much the same for Hindus, Buddhists and the followers of the world's many other religions who live in what missiologists call the 10/40 window. 95% of the world's unreached people groups live in the 10/40 window.
Globalization is bringing the people of the world to countries where there are churches in every neighborhood and Christians all around them. Technology is opening up the world to communicate with one another in ways never before imagined. English is the new lingua franca and it is easier than ever to connect with a unreached peoples - and their families - and to be the first true follower of Jesus they have ever met.
Covid-19 is a terrible disease that is bringing and will continue to bring great loss to our world. But it is also bringing opportunity. Children across the globe have been sent home from school. They are isolated and oftentimes alone and are spending their time online. Your children are home. Muslim children are home. Hindu children are home. Buddhist children are home.
What would it take to help your child be the first real Christian one of these children has ever met?
What would it look like if you could help your child build a friendship with a child their same age and gender from another country?
There are dozens of online communities working to connect children with other children and adults with other adults through the age old practice of pen pals. Some help you connect through traditional mail. Many more are helping make connections through email.
I want to invite you to consider praying as a family about becoming pen pals with new friends in the Muslim world. Imagine if each member of your family were connecting with people in a Muslim majority country. Imagine how much you would learn about the world. Imagine the encouragement you could bring to an individual who is also living through this current world crisis. Imagine the conversations about Jesus that just may happen as you hear the story of your new friend’s life and they hear yours.
I want to first and foremost, encourage you to do this as a family. Your kids are going to make easy connections as they share about what they do for fun but depending on their age, they’ll probably need some coaching.
And you, mom and dad, are going to need your kids to keep you accountable to continue to reach out and connect through email or regular letters with new friends.
Be a family on mission together!
When I first helped my son with pen pals in Turkey and Indonesia he was twelve. We went onto the website Pen Pal World together and I helped him set up his profile. We prayed about what countries to look into and then searched together for boys age 12 that he could connect with. He reached out to two and they both responded. Soon they were exchanging emails. They were super simple. At one point the thread of emails was over 70 replies between the two of them. One would ask a single question - “Who’s your favorite soccer team? - and the other would respond “Real Madrid,” and then send off a single question of their own, “What’s your favorite movie?” It felt a little ridiculous but they were two twelve year old boys getting to know one another. This boy happened to live in Indonesia. I monitored and checked in with my son regularly, encouraging him and helping him know how to proceed.
Below are three sites through which you can find pen pals in the Muslim world. All three have their users create profiles which include the user’s gender, age and country. Be sure and help your children find friends who are the same age and gender - and that goes for you too! And then pray about what countries in which you would like to make connections.
It’s a great reason to explore and learn about countries within the 10/40 window.
A great resource to tune up your heart for these nations is Prayercast where you can learn about every country in the world. https://www.prayercast.com/
And a great resource to help you and your family learn more about Islam and how to share the love of Jesus with Muslims is the Bridges study. https://www.crescentproject.org/bridges
Interpals started in 1998 and has been helping people make new friends across the globe ever since! You can sign up for free. You’ll need to create a profile and then you can search the profiles of others to find someone to write to. You can start by messaging on the Interpals website. This will all happen on their on-site inbox, which means you won’t need to give out personal information at first. Take some time to get to know the person you are connecting with. You will want to switch over to email though so that your conversations can happen more naturally.
Like Interpals, PenPal World has also been active since 1998. Like Interpals, you will sign up, build a profile and search the profiles of others, then communicate within a PenPal World inbox. They also have some helpful safety features. They manually verify every single profile photo, and they enable minors to block all adults.
Global Penfriends was established in 1995, and is a safe platform that runs in a very similar way to Interpals and PenPal World. It is completely free, and you set up a profile, search for others, and have a secure inbox. Unique to Global Penfriends is their My Post service, which enables members to send snail mail to each other via the internet! You can use this service to send any written correspondence: letters, postcards, birthday cards, invitations, etc.
Parents, you will want to look at each and see which suits your needs best.
Please remember that these sites are secular sites open to anyone with an email address. They are for profit and so it is in their very best interest to make the sites as safe as possible. That said, it is up to you to stay safe and remain vigilant. You and your children have an opportunity to build real friendships and to be Christ’s ambassadors in a lost and broken world.
And you can do it together!
Learn more about unreached people groups and the 10/40 window in the short video below.
The E2E Community