Tag Archives: people projects

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!

A post for Christians: how to stop treating people as projects – Part 1 – The Problem

2 Oct

If you’ve read this blog for even a fairly short amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about about making disciples. It is the mission of God’s Kingdom, and yet I have heard many at Faith Church talk about how you can feel very frustrated about making disciples. You agree that it is important, you believe in it, and you really, really want to be a part of it, but most times you feel defeated before you even start.

According to recent stats, our country’s population has gone from 96% Christian in the year 1900 to 73% Christian in 2015. You and I have a great heart and desire to see people become followers of Jesus, and yet so many aren’t interested.  That can create fear and frustration in our minds.

I think of one person who has reached out to a family member countless times, and that family member has responded with “Stop talking, I don’t want to hear another word about this religion stuff!” That is painful to hear, especially because we love our family and friends.  But perhaps despite our good intentions this family member has begun to feel like a spiritual project?

Or you and I might have a desire to reach out to neighbors or coworkers, but our lives are crazy busy, so that there is hardly any time left after we’re done with work and our family schedule. Most days we finish that up as the clock strikes 10pm, and we’re exhausted. Who has time for reaching out?

How many of you would love to reach out, but you feel like it is next to impossible? You wonder if it means quoting Bible verses, winning theology arguments, and praying out loud with people. And all of that leaves you feeling sick in the stomach, and defeated.  You know people don’t want to be your little religious project.  And you don’t want them to be a project either.  You want real relationship.  You’ve found this amazing thing that Jesus offers, and you want to share it.  But it seems to come across as a program.

How would you feel if I were to tell you that Jesus says that his mission is so different from that? How would you feel if there was a better way? A way that fits within the ebb and flow of your real life.  A way that treated people as they ought to be treated, as real people.

In our next section in Luke, Jesus teaches us that better way.  Read Luke 10:1-24 if you want a preview!  And join us at Faith Church to learn more.