Beyond the Person of Peace
I HAVE HEARD PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY have had a Disciple Making Movement training and implemented it, but are not seeing the results expected. Some even say it is not working for them at their place of ministry.
In 2005, when I had the training myself for the first time, I said the same thing: “This will not work where I am.” But, when I decided to implement it, I saw, and keep seeing results anywhere the DMM principles are implemented.
I have spent time with people for which it is “not working.” In every case, they don’t implement the whole system. They choose one or two principles and implemented them. They see some addition of new Christ followers, but not the multiplication and movement momentum they expected.
There are two things that people almost always choose to implement: the principles of Person of Peace and Discovery Bible Study. Even so, they often don’t fully or intentionally implement these principles.
This article is about implementing the principle of the “Person of Peace” in a way that it leads to multiplication and a movement. This principle is a key element in the process of Disciple Making Movements. But, to see it produce its full result, it must be implemented the right way.
I. The concept
We find the concept of the “Person of Peace” in the instructions Jesus gave to his disciples when he sent them out in Matthew 10, Luke 9, and Luke 10. In essence, Jesus told his disciples that when they enter a community, their priority will be to look for and find the person of peace. If they find one, they should stay; if not, they should leave (Luke 10: 5-11).
The Person of Peace is very important in the process of Disciple Making Movements. Every DMM is a work of God, not man. If God is not yet raising up people of peace, there will be no movement. Remember, Jesus sent his disciples before him into places where he himself was about to go and then said “… The harvest truly [is] great, but the laborers [are] few; therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (NKJV: Luke 10: 1-2).
The presence of the Person of Peace in a community is the proof that God is at work in that community. Not only that, that person is the doorway to the community and to the Kingdom harvest in that community. Usually he or she is also a harvester that will need to be coached and mentored into that role.
There are several examples of Persons of Peace in the New Testament, such as the Centurion (Luke 7:1–10), the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1–30), the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26–40), Cornelius (Acts 10:9–11:1), Lydia (Acts 16:13–15), and the Philippian Jailer (Acts
II. Who is she/he?
Aly had been visiting a community looking for a person of peace. When he met Kone he identified him as a person of peace. Kone was very friendly, welcoming and hospitable. After three visits, Aly realized that Kone was not a person of peace. They had some good conversations during which Aly tried to introduce spiritual topics, but Kone had no spiritual concern he wanted to discuss. His interest was only friendship with Aly.
Many people meet this kind of person and think they have found a person of peace. They will spend a lot of time with these people and won’t see anything happening that leads to making disciples. They become frustrated and conclude that DMM is not working.
The person of peace may have a good reputation, but not always. They often are hospitable, helpful, or friendly.
But the most important characteristic that describes the person of peace is that she or he has personal spiritual concerns or questions. No matter their religious background, they usually have some spiritual dissatisfaction or questions. This dissatisfaction is caused by the fact that God is at work in their life, and the Father is preparing them to accept the gospel and become a catalyst to bridge the gospel into the community. Their presence in the community usually means that God is at work in that community.
In summary, the person of peace:
• Is a non-Christian – Jesus sent his disciples into the harvest among non-saved people.
• Has spiritual questions and is a seeker.
• Manifests that God is working through him or her.
• Demonstrates that God has him or her to receive the gospel.
• Their presence in the community means that Jesus is visiting that community; God is at work there.
III. How to find the person of peace
Disciple makers find people of peace through a process of much prayer, providing some service or kindness in the community, and living out a gracious spiritual lifestyle (Deut. 6: 4-9). This article is too short to expand on this here.
IV. After finding the person of peace, what
Know that God is at work in the community and join Him. There is a harvest to be reaped. The person of peace is a seed… the harvest is beyond them. The person of peace has a social network of family, friends, and colleagues. And each of those have their own social network. And these social networks overlap. The person of peace is the doorway to all these social networks.
Lazare spent unfruitful years trying to plant churches among the Malinke people in a West Africa country. Then he had a DMM training. He started finding persons of peace in different communities. But each time he found one, in his excitement, he just led them to Christ and then went looking for more persons of peace. He missed the whole point of God’s strategic work. He was finding lots of persons of peace, but not planting any churches.
The best thing to do when one finds a person of peace is:
1. Focus on their social network in the community.
2. Don’t rush to lead them to Christ by themselves.
3. Have them invite members of their social networks.
4. Do Discovery Bible Studies with the group that the person of peace puts together.
V. Discovery Bible Study Group
The Discovery Bible Study is the tool to use to help the group to discover Christ and their need of him for salvation. The discipleship process starts with the DBS as the tool for that. This is discipling the group toward conversion.
The Discovery Group is also the tool to use to build the DNA of replication in the group. By the time the group makes a decision for Christ, they have learned the value of obedience to God, sharing everything they learned, and reproducing what they have experienced.
VI. A new church starts and reproduces
The Discovery Bible Study group moves from a discovery group to a new church when these new believers are baptized and start functioning as a church. The new church will require more coaching and mentoring to have its own leaders and start the same process elsewhere.
The person of peace is key in the process of Disciple Making Movement. But, for them to play their God given role in DMM, they must be intentionally coached and mentored into that role as described above.