Starting/Forming New Spiritual Communities for Christ
Remember the person of peace I mentioned in my previous blog post?
(If you have not read the previous blog post, you might want to go to https://www.mccnresources.org/blog-short-articles to make sense of this or subscribe on the webform above to get started.)
The term “person of peace”(POP) has been used in Disciplemaking Movement (DMM) circles for some time now. It refers to someone who is receptive to the man, the message and the mission (3Ms). It simply means someone who is receptive, well-related to his or her community, and carry a certain reputation (good or bad) in their community. (3Rs)
Quite commonly, I have encountered many Christians who want to meet a person of peace (POP) but don’t seem to be able to find them. Jesus described the harvest “truly is plentiful” and “the fields are white for harvest” more than 2000 years ago, so the issue is not that there are no POPs, but likely that you are not out there in the harvest field.
If your groups comprise of Christians and those in the Christian circles, you will likely not be able to find any POP. The most likely places you can find POPs are usually not the places a “Christian” will hang out – casinos, pubs, drinking holes, family courts and even prisons. They might also be at gardening communities, or amongst dance groups or moms groups, leisure and interest groups, amongst non-Christian colleagues.
One great way to start is by being a person of peace yourself. The basic principle in life is that we reap what we sow. Sharing is a very important kingdom value and culture. SOW EVERYWHERE. You will only know if you sow! From sowing, you can see the response of individuals to gauge if the person is a POP.
Today, I am going to share with you on starting a spiritual community for Christ. My focus is on starting a NEW community. From the last few blog posts, I hope you caught the “Going-Sending Apostolic” understanding of starting new spiritual communities through discipling persons of peace into the kingdom of God and reaching their natural community.
However, if you have not found a person of peace, at least start being one to others in God’s kingdom by being an open connector and a sharing person to others.
There is a natural community whom God has placed around you. And if you can be a person of peace discipled by the Holy Spirit, God can start a spiritual community, and He can build His Church through you beginning with your natural community.
Begin by discipling 2 or 3 others, obey Jesus’ command to baptize them in water upon repentance from sins, teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded (including that of repentance and faith toward God, water baptism and being filled/ immersed/baptized with the Holy Spirit). Soon, a spiritual community for Christ will form as this process continues.
The starting point is simple. Disciple a non-believer into the Kingdom of God and then another and another. And then help the new disciples disciple others too. In the process, you should allow yourself to be discipled by the Lord Jesus, following and obeying Him as you walk with Him in your everyday life; working through issues in your heart, sin that displeases God with repentance as a lifestyle, and allowing God to bring transformation to your heart and life.
This could look like yourself being part of a spiritual community of not-so-new disciples or mature disciples, or disciplers. Most “Christians” will look for other Christians to gather together and then call it a house church. More often than not, such a house church can be plagued with many problems and become unhealthy.
I have deliberately not gone that way as the starting point, because looking for other believers and gathering together to form a spiritual community can seem an easy way to start, but that can usually lead to years of just trying to find like-mindedness, unlearning and detoxing, a long-drawn process that hinders the real multiplication of new disciples for Christ.
However, if that is what Jesus is saying you do now, then do whatever He says. There is no real right or wrong answer except that you be obedient to the Lord. Many times our obedience grows as we follow the simple things He says we do. And if He says do it, the outcome will be one that glorifies Him anyway.
When I refer to an apostolic work, it is pioneering new ground, and discipling/reaching out to non-believers, so that they may encounter Christ and be born again into the kingdom of God. An apostolic work is done where no man has gone, and foundations laid where no others have laid. It is a PIONEERING work amongst unreached people groups.
It may not be as hard as you think. More often than not, groups with believers and “church-background Christians” have more baggage to work through and are harder to disciple than a totally unchurched person.
Many Christians after years and decades of being in a safe, sanctified environment of other Christians in an organized religious setting, have lost touch with how to reach non-believers. Many would have to go through “detox” from “religiousity” and “churchianity” in order to unlearn bad or wrong habits.
Please bear with me as I use a rather candid example to prove this point. I think you would agree with me that if given the choice, you would rather wipe the poo off the butt of a newborn baby, than the butt of an adult. A baby only drinks only milk, and passes out waste from milk. Whereas the adult has lots of toxins and waste products from eating all kinds of solid food and processed foods. Well without going further, you get the idea.
So, GO, START and form a spiritual community of NEW believers, by reaching one and then another, baptizing them, praying for them to be filled/immersed in the Holy Spirit, teaching them to cast our demons. This is foundation laying that is part of the work of an apostle, or someone who carries an apostolic anointing, which doesn’t necessarily make one an apostle.
I hope to share on foundation laying for a spiritual community in the next few writings. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, I encourage you to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer, lest we deceive ourselves. Start simply by simply starting. You can do it through Christ’s strength and empowerment!
Grace to you.