During the last month the word “Peace” was heard and used many times by many people. Even those outside the church hoped that we would strive for peace with all men. So though the celebration of the first coming of the Prince of Peace has passed, I want to talk about being a Person of Peace to the community we call home.
I have heard “Peace on Earth” thrown around for several years and I wanted to find its roots and understand its original meaning. My search took me to two passages of scripture. Matthew 10:13 and Psalms 37:37. The two ideas behind this title as identified in scripture are:
In Matthew 10:13, He tells the disciples, as they go into a town, they are to give a greeting or blessing of peace. If the household or community they entered was worthy, the blessing would come upon it, but if not, Jesus said it would return to them.
The second passage, in Psalm 37 compares two different men, the evil doer and the blameless (or righteous) man. The violent will prosper for a season and then pass away and he will be no more. You will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. The blameless man is referred to as a man of peace. In verse 37 it says: Mark the blameless man and behold the upright; for the man of peace will have a posterity.
How does this relate to us as we trust God to impact a middle or high school community with the gospel? I think the answer is to be a person of peace in the community. Let’s look at becoming a trusted resource in the school community as a means to accomplish this part of being a person of peace.
Are you a blessing to the school community or are you viewed with a questioning eye? Do they view you or your ministry as always coming to take or trying to get away with more than they offer? Do the things you do and say incorporate love and blessing to the truth you proclaim?
Let us work on being that blessing! How can we be a person of peace to the community? Let us learn to listen, ask good questions and perceive needs. Let us figure out if there are ways we can serve (in good conscience of course). Let us use our ears and our eyes to figure out where God is at work in the community and join with Him in bringing the gospel of peace. It is quite possible to open the doors for the gospel more widely as you come and be a blessing.
What are some practical ways that I can come and serve? Before I answer this question, know the best thing to do is to seek God’s heart for your community.
Here are a few examples to be a person of peace.
Parents secure the halls – “Jeff Dads” is such a program in Lafayette, IN. Parents walk around Jefferson High School and add to the adult presence there. This serves to deter wrong behavior and creates an opportunity for parents to engage in the lives of the students they meet.
Mentoring or tutoring programs – these add great value to the individuals involved in the program and ultimately the school as we continue to be more concerned about the academic performance.
Coaching / sponsoring / chaperoning – If you have a specific skill or background, serving the school is an excellent way to add value. If you don’t have a particular interest, but have some time, different groups are also looking for Chaperones for dances and trips.
You can always attend events and support the school in the various activities they promote. I have seen music, sports and dramatic performances during my years of ministry. This has also served as a way to connect with and encourage those students who participate in these programs.
Become a person of peace in your ministry! Your pronouncement of peace on the community will allow you to accomplish the other mandate of peace we have as followers of Christ. You will have more opportunity to be heard by the people who have observed you listening, participating and being a blessing. Students and administration will begin to open their ears and heart to the gospel of peace as they have experienced the blessing of the man of peace! Jesus said He offered peace that the world cannot offer. He also warns us that unless we make peace with God we will spend eternity separated from Him. So as followers of Christ, it is our privilege (and our duty) to love others by communicating to them how they can know the Prince of Peace!
Scott Livermore 100 Lake Hart Dr, Dept 3200 Orlando, FL 32832 1-877-GoCampus