In Matt 10 and Luke 10 we find powerful stories of Jesus engaging his followers with a specific task that has a multiplying effect of his ministry in many towns and villages of Israel. We summarize this task and the instruction around it as the Person of Peace. Sometimes people say “finding the Person or House of Peace” other times I have heard it called “Person of Peace searches”. Either way, Jesus teaches his disciples to go into a village and look for a person that will welcome them. When they find this person who will welcome them as strangers he basically tells his disciples to stay there and minister to and through that family.
These families then partner with the disciple to advance the work of Jesus throughout their natural relationships in the community. So the disciples are no longer strangers. With the Person of Peace hosting them, they are insiders, or at least being welcomed by insiders. This is a very interesting and simple strategy.
A few quick observations about the Persons of Peace:
1. The Person of Peace welcomes the messenger.
2. The Person of Peace welcomes the message.
3. The Person of Peace adopts and directs the local mission.
I believe that every one of Jesus followers. The 12, 70, and 72 depending on the passage you read, are all Persons of Peace; before Jesus sends them. I expect that everyone one of them had already shared the “Gospel of the Kingdom” with their own people, families, and villages. They are so engaged in the mission that they accept this task to go beyond their own natural relationships and seek friends among strangers. So the first question in engaging the Person of Peace Search is acknowledging that you are a Person of Peace and in preparation for going to strangers you should minister among your natural relationships. We call this group your Oikos.
Oikos is the greek work for “household”. Household in 1st Century Israel was a whole lot more like a large extended family than it is like today’s nuclear household consisting of Mom, Dad, and 2.5 kids. Household is better understood as relational network than “people living in one house”. One committed Person of Peace who then follows Jesus command to go make disciples, can have multiple streams of influence just within their oikos.
Think of this way. One obvious stream of opportunity is your family. You might have multiple layers here. Of course your parents and siblings. But if you keep extending outward you may find grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that are far from Jesus.
Start with the ones you know well, who are willing to talk with you. These are simple you can frame the conversation in love and concern for them. I have found that in my family most have heard the gospel, but few have been taught Jesus commands.
Another stream here could be your neighborhood. Maybe you are like us and barely know your neighbors. They move. They drive into their garage every night never to be seen again, at least until they drive in their garage next time. You could expend some time seeking opportunities to know your neighbors and share with them the love of Christ. Maybe host an annual block party to meet people.
Others potential oikos streams in your life could be: Co-workers at your job, classmates at your school, team-mates if you participate in athletics or academic teams, poker buddies, ladies group, interest groups like hobbies or clubs, any many many more. Think like this your primary mission field is to the people in your life that are close to you, but far from God.
This could have many applications, but simply this for those who are far from living as followers of Christ, share the hope of the gospel with them. If they are already believers than help them become fully formed disciples who engage in the gospel work with Jesus. Scripture is clear that one of the primary actions of Jesus followers is to take the gospel to their people (Oikos). This is not out of duty, it is out of love! Love for Jesus who deserves to be worshipped by all mankind and love for your friends who, being far from God will miss out on the most life-giving relationship anyone could every desire or ask for.
Please understand this is not cultural Christianity. This is New Testament Christianity. It is look at Jesus life and commands and expecting modern believers to love Jesus the way His earliest followers did. You were made for so much more than listening to a weekly sermon and giving to a church budget. Jesus never wanted your money! He wanted/wants your heart. If you love him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, then all you have will be His!
Here are two questions for you to consider:
1. Are you a person of peace?
Do you welcome Jesus as the messenger, His message of hope, and do you welcome His mission to redeem people from every people group on earth?
2. Are your friends Persons of Peace?
Create your Oikos Map and start finding out! For more on Oikos see my blog post: Jesus' Primary Disciple Making Strategy OIKOS
Biblical Examples of Person of Peace (there are so many more):
Zaccheus – Luke 19
Peter - Mark 1:29-34
Levi/Matthew – Luke 5
Samaritan woman at the well – John 4
Lazarus, Mary and Martha – John 11-12
Ethiopian eunuch – Acts 8
Cornelius – Acts 10
Lydia – Acts 16
Philippian Jailer – Acts 16
Jason – Acts 17
Priscilla and Aquila – Acts 18, Rom 16:3-5
Titius Justus and Crispus – Acts 18