Sowing seeds with people of peace

By Lee Kemp 

John Maxwell once said that no one succeeds unless a group of people wants them to. I think this is definitely true in ministry because ministry rides or dies on relationships.

Before Forefront became a church, Sarah and I were living in Timberline Apartments by ourselves, and we met a lady named Mrs. Patsy. There are about 1,000 people that live in the apartments, and everyone knows Mrs. Patsy. She has lived and worked at Timberline for 21 years, surviving owners and tenants. She delivers notes for rent, but she is also the apartment watchdog. When she takes her dogs for walks late at night, Mrs. Patsy also carries a baseball bat with her.

Early on, Mrs. Patsy didn’t know what Sarah and I believed in or stood for, but she was glad we were there. She knew we were there for a different reason than just having a place to live.

One day I was talking to a lady in the complex about bringing her kids to our summer program, but I could tell there was a racial barrier. Then Mrs. Patsy walked over to us and said to the lady, “You need to get all your kids to this summer program.” Then she looked at me and said, “This is a good man.” The racial barrier died right there.

You’ve heard it said that someone’s always watching. That’s true if we are planting a church or not because the lost watch all believers. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in peoples’ hearts and minds. Whether we know it or not, the Lord is building those relationships sooner than we might think.

Even so, we have to give it time. Mrs. Patsy had to see some of our events before she accepted that what we were offering was something the people of Timberline Apartments needed.

{ Whether we know it or not, the Lord is building those relationships sooner than we might think.}

Mrs. Patsy was a person of peace in the apartment complex. A person of peace is someone who may or may not have your beliefs, but they are volunteering in the community and trying to make a social difference. They also see your character and believe in you.

Without people of peace, it’s really hard to plant the seeds of the Gospel because the soil will be wrong. And what if that person comes to know Christ? They can help you start a movement!

There are people in your community who have the same heart as you and are already doing things for others. What I have found is that if you link arms with community players already playing and cheer for them then they cheer for you!

There are also gathering places in your community where people already like to go for fun, to relax, and to enjoy each other. When we get involved, we naturally meet people.

If I could plant a church all over again, before trying to gather people for worship, I would have pushed to gather people with different beliefs or who had a heart for social injustice. Then once those people had a chance to receive the Gospel, I would have started a church.

Ben Arment talks about sometimes a church planter has to become a missionary before he becomes a pastor, and missionaries center everything around relationships. If people aren’t ready to gather with you for worship, then maybe you have to cultivate the soil. You go back and focus on developing relationships with people of peace. That way when you gather, you are gathering with people who want to make things happen.

How to look for people of peace in your city:

  1. Focus on the major social injustices of the city
  2. Examine these three questions:
    1. Who’s doing what and for whom?
    2. How good are they at doing it?
    3. What do they need to go to the next level?

 

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