Early in our pioneering days as cross-cultural workers in Central Asia, we were led to a passage of Scripture that transformed our outlook on how we would reach out to our new community. In Luke 10, the Bible says:
After this, the Lord appointed 70 others, and He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go. He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Now go; I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. (verses 1-6)
From that passage, we began to implement the MOP strategy or “Man of Peace” (I guess we could have called it SOP, but that means something else in the southeastern part of the States ☺). Though guys tended to be the key influencers in this culture, it became clear soon enough that God had prepared the hearts of many women who turned out to be “Women of Peace” so we decided to go with the gender-neutral “POP” plan for “Person of Peace.” Not only did it sound better, but it was a better indicator of what God was doing. Once we began spending more concentrated time with these POPs, Kingdom things really started to happen!
Now we find ourselves back in our home culture, in a new city and neighborhood. Not surprisingly, the Word challenges us just as much in this context as it did overseas to look for those in whose hearts the Father has already begun a work, those we call POPs. We all have limited time, and a limited ability to develop relationships. While we certainly want to cast the net broadly, it’s important to remember that the Holy Spirit is at work in drawing people to God and placing us in just the right places at just the right times for a God event to take place. I’ll be praying that each of our small groups is able to come up with a POP plan in the coming weeks, watching for those who are already ripe for spiritual conversation!