More quotes from Organic Church by Neil Cole …
One of Cole’s five principles for church planting is ‘person of peace’. He elaborates:
This simple concept has led to many churches being born around the world. Jesus said to look for and even inquire about someone who would be receptive to our message of peace. When we find such a person, we are to stay there and reach his or her entire household (oikos). We are to eat what he or she eats and stay where he or she stays (Luke 10:6-7) (181)
When someone comes to Christ in a new pocket of people, we assume that this is a person of peace. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but the assumption is helpful. More often than not the assumption is true.
Persons of peace are characterized by three things:
1. They are people of receptivity. They are open to the message of the person and the peace of Christ.
2. They are people of relational connections. They know lots of people and are an important part of the community, for better or worse.
3. They are people of reputation. They possess a reputation, whether it is good or bad.
The person of peace becomes the conduit for the passing of the message of the Kingdom to an entire community of lost people. The person’s reputation gives credence to the message and becomes a magnet for a new church. A poor reputation can often be the catalyst for a dynamic church as the whole community sees the life-transforming power of Jesus.
Here are some examples of persons of peace in the New Testament. I call them the ‘first domino’ people, who start a chain reaction for the Kingdom. When they became Christian, others within the oikos did so as well, often almost immediately. You will see that some were people of good reputation, and others had a bad reputation … Lydia … the Samaritan woman … Cornelius … the Gerasene Demoniac … (182-183)