How to stop treating people as projects, Part 2 – People of Peace & Missional Communities

7 Oct

Last week I introduced my sermon on Luke 10:1-24 talking about how we Christians can be guilty of treating people as our own little spiritual projects.  While I don’t believe that most Christians set out to make people into projects, in our eagerness to see people experience what we think is so amazing, namely, following Jesus, we can go overboard and treat those people as projects.

But they are people.  And we need to learn to treat them better.  So in Luke 10:1-24, Jesus teaches us a better way.  The story is that Jesus is once again sending out a group of his followers on a mission trip.  This time 72 of them, two-by-two, venture out to heal the sick, cast out demons, and tell people that God’s Kingdom is near.  We learn from Luke that they have a wonderful trip, and everyone is filled with joy.

Maybe it went so well because they followed Jesus’ teaching of the better way.  Maybe instead of treating people like projects, they put into practice the instructions Jesus gave them.  What was that instruction, that better way?

Persons of Peace.

Here’s what Jesus taught them in verses 5-7: “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.”

Notice how Jesus describes the person. The person is open, receptive. It seems that God is already at work in their lives. On rare occasions we’ll meet someone like this in a passing connection like an airplane ride or a seat at a football game. But for the most part, they will be people we already know like our neighbors, co-workers, family members, or long-term friends.

I recently heard the story of someone who would pray for a person in their neighborhood for 6 months, then after six months approach them to see if they were a person of peace

Keep your eyes open for God to bring a person of peace into your life. Pray for them. Do you have a person of peace in your life?

When God is already at work in their lives, they are not your little project, but they are a person of peace.

Paul Mancioche recommends “the following steps where families can do this together:

  • Build predicable patterns of prayer & Bible, food and fun time as a family
  • Look for ‘people of peace’ (Luke 10:6) who feel called to join us
  • Invite them to orbit in and out of our rhythms
  • Disciple them to live in a way that passionately follows God, commits to community life and reaches out to others
  • Do this through shared lives and more formal times of processing together (which we call ‘Huddles’)
  • When they are ready, ask them to lead the same thing in their own homes

This is our 21st Century approximation of what we see Jesus doing in the gospels.”

Here’s how one church has implemented these principles:

Let’s be people of Jesus’ better way!

Listen to the whole sermon here.

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