DWELL. Luke 10:1-17
At the heart of the 1st century Jesus movement was direct, personal engagement with people in their homes and communities. Notice that Jesus and his followers do not employ any attractional, entertainment practices to drum up interest in the gospel. Notice they do not launch a new worship experience that will reach a targeted "unchurched" demographic. Notice that the direction of the movement is not centripetal (out to in), but centrifugal (in to out). Notice they do not carry any personal baggage or bibles. Egos and personal theological agenda are left behind. The person of interest is the person they are about to meet. The other is primary. They take only their authentic selves and the Spirit of Jesus,their Rabbi, who has demonstrated what it means to be a child of God. His teaching in parables, his health care and feeding ministries, and his radical inclusion of those people who have been displaced, exiled, or ostracized characterize his gospel. He eats and drinks with "sinners" (whores and drunks). This is what he taught his followers to do. And then he sends them ahead to the places he himself intended to go. To be appointed and sent is a call to apostolic service or ministry. To be an apostle is to be sent to accomplish a particular mission or task on behalf of someone else. What does this teach us?
1. He was intentional about where he sent them. They could not go beyond where he sent them. He did not send them to places where he himself would not go. If he wouldn't go there, neither should they. This was a directed, strategic movement.
2. He sent them in pairs for safety, accountability, and support. There were no lone rangers and no CEOs. This was a partnership practice.
3. He sent them open and empty-handed, so that they might exhibit a posture of humility and need. Not as dependents living off the handouts and good graces of others, but also not as independent, self-reliant contractors. Their journey was uncomfortable and depended on their ability to build relationships with people of peace.
4. He taught them the principle of seeking refuge with a "person of peace." This is a person who accepts and receives the disciple, is interested in who you are and what you're doing, and is willing to serve you in some way. A person of peace is open to the gospel. It all starts with that person.
5. They go with the authority and confidence of the master, representing his gospel as those he elected and sent to do so. This authority is not going to be accepted everywhere. They will experience rejection.
6. He expects their return. Their training is incomplete. He continues to teach them as they put into practice what they have seen and heard. When they succeed and when they fail, he has something to teach them.
What might a Christian community be like, if this is what we did? Now, the Jehovah's witnesses and the Mormons employ a two-by-two, door-to-door sending model. And for most Americans, door-to-door sales are ineffective, if not offensive. I've rejected "missionaries" and lawn care salesmen at my door. I've practiced neighborhood visitation ministry and experienced rejection. So, does this model no longer work in our culture? I think it can. To what and to whom is Jesus appointing us? Tune in tomorrow for some thoughts on a 21st century apostolic movement and what it might look like.
Lord Jesus, you called, gathered, taught, and sent people into the field to harvest abundantly. And when they went, they discovered a rich harvest of people longing for your word of grace and love and peace. Prepare and Send us to seek out those around us who are waiting for your compassionate justice to overcome the powers of death. Amen.