Peace & Reconciliation in Discipleship

Peace & Reconciliation in Discipleship

Why is being a peace presence so important in discipleship?

INNOVATE’s vision statement is this:

Every neighbourhood deserves a Jesus centred, disciple-making, peace presence.

Someone recently pointed out to Norm, our INNOVATE team leader, that the last part of our mission statement, peace presence, is unique.  Why would a peace presence be so vital to disciple-making?  Why is the peace that Jesus’ blood brings from reconciling things to Himself be so important for us to bring into our neighbourhoods (Colossians 1:19-20)?

This is what I think of when I think of a Jesus centred peace presence:

Our family moved into our old neighbourhood when our oldest children were just babies.  As the years went on and we began to connect with, listen to and serve our neighbours, I was shocked to see the change that came over our tiny street. 

It started with neighbours connecting with just us – sharing meals, sharing stories, breaking down walls of tension and/or racism, kids playing together, etc.  But then something amazing happened: the neighbours started to connect with each other.  The community that had been created by, what I believe to be, the peace, love, and Sovereignty of Christ ruling in our lives and hearts, was incredible.  The neighbourhood was being transformed by the peaceful presence of Christ in and through us.

When we changed neighbourhoods, we were kind of heartbroken.  We didn’t realize the connections we had made and the peace we had enjoyed as Christ began to reconcile our neighbours to Himself (without them really knowing it). 

Since our move two years ago, I’ve been a bit discouraged by the lack of peace and reconciliation I’ve witnessed in our new neighbourhood.  It’s a beautiful neighbourhood that’s quiet, calm, and mature – but there’s been something missing.  But this spring, as four neighbourhood kids piled into our backyard to play, as we chatted with a troubled 70-year old from up the street, as I filled out a reference form for a mom down the street that was looking for work, I realized that God is still moving.  He certainly does use us, uses discipleship, uses connection, uses our faithful presence to reconcile all things to Himself – to bring His beauty, life, love, and peace to our neighbourhoods.  

How can you bring the love and light of Jesus to those around you, so that they might know the reconciling peace of Christ?  A friendly ‘hello’ or a quick conversation might be all it takes to get the ball rolling.  Make them food. (That almost always opens doors!) Pray for your neighbours, pray for connection, pray for boldness, pray for peace. And maybe even be bold enough to share your own faith story with them in hopes that they might see the transforming power of Jesus in their own hearts. 

Will you be a peaceful presence in your neighbourhood, by the power and grace of Christ?