The Viral Gospel: How Finding Your Person of Peace Accelerates Your Mission

“In this new eBook, missional leader Alex Absalom offers a thorough explanation and exploration of the “Person of Peace” strategy that Jesus used throughout His ministry.”

short, free, and intriguing e-book on the idea of the ‘Person of peace’. I’d never heard of this particular evangelism and missional strategy before. It’s biblical basis largely appears to be Luke 10 where Jesus sends out the 70 disciples on mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God.

I enjoyed the way the book opened with a chapter on the broader context of being missional – how we should move from being ‘for’ to ‘with’ to ‘one of’ to finally being ‘in’ i.e. becoming one of the particular group of people who we are focusing our missional efforts on. This reflects the revelation and relationship of God to humanity. God is for us generally, God is with us in specific ways, God became one of us in the incarnation, and God is now in us through Jesus as we welcome the Spirit.

I appreciated the reminder that by definition, being a follower of Jesus means that we are disciple making disciples. That is part of our DNA. It is who we are. Mission is who we are, and here is the ‘viral’ link – “the core of our faith should be highly sneezable!”

The main meat of the e-book though is devoted to unpacking the ‘person of peace’ concept. The big idea is that this is a missional strategy based on working with those whom you find it easiest to befriend and share your faith with, as you share you life with them. The author summarises it as “They like you, and you like them”. Who are your ‘people of peace’? To answer this question, identify the people in your life whom you would most love to see become a disciple of Jesus’, or ‘Who are you called to love intentionally?’

A person of peace is someone who is at the time a non-Christian but who:

  1. Welcomes you
  2. Receives you (and thus unknowingly receives Jesus)
  3. Serves you
  4. You intentionally invest in
  5. Operates as a gatekeeper, opening relationship doorways into their network of relationships

If you have read my reflections so far, and aren’t familiar with Luke 10, stop, go and read that now…

Can you see how the 5 principles above come out of the passage? I think I can. This is not of course is the only, or even necessarily the best strategy for evangelism (it may be, but the authors don’t claim that), but it is certainly a refreshing and inspiring, and I think helpful strategy, for me.

It is a very actionable and assessable strategy – it is inclusive and empowering to Christians like myself who struggle to work out what living for Jesus amongst non-Christians should look like. Lisa and were both able to read this and immediately apply it to our lives by identifying people who would be a match, or a potential match. It is true in my experience, and true biblically I think, that we are required to be wise in the way we use our finite energy and resources, and so we should be wise in the way we live, trying to maximize our God-given opportunities for sharing our lives i.e. focus on those with whom it seems easiest and there is the highest likelihood of impacting with the gospel.

There was plenty of helpful reminders throughout the book to be dependent on God in prayer.

I appreciated the point that we are to invite Jesus into the unexpected little moments of the day as we share our lives with our ‘people of peace’. This just means being authentic and real – if you see an opportunity to pray, pray. If you see an opportunity to relate a situation to a biblical truth, then do so. Later on they refer to this as being ‘naturally supernatural’.

There was mention of how we should not be too quick to pull non-churched people into church. Disciple people in their existing cultural context – this is where you can more easily be real, share your real selves, and disciple in quality, rather than too quickly need to try to mould your disciple-in-the-making to fit the particular cultural norms of your church. This is coming out of the missional church kinda mindset, and I get that, and I think I generally agree with the sentiment.

To keep mission on the agenda with our people of peace, they provide 4 key questions for you to be asking your person of peace as you share life with them:

  1. Can I pray for you?
  2. Can I serve you?
  3. Can I share my story?
  4. Can I share God’s story?

I thought this list was helpful, and again, reasonable and realistic questions that can come up quite easily within authentic friendships.

i think that’s about it – I’d reckon you spend the hour of your life and give it a read, particularly if you have not heard of this ‘person of peace’ strategy before, or even if you have, but would benefit from a simple short primer on how to apply it to your life.

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