These notes are from my table talk at the 2014 Refugee Highway Partnership North America Roundtable in Phoenix, AZ:
Characteristics of a Person of Peace (Luke 10:3-9; Matthew 10:11-14)
- Welcomes the Messenger - protection; provision
- Receives the Message - perhaps not at first
- Extends their Influence - "oikos"; reputation; relationships
- Luke 8:15
- Mary & Martha - Luke 10:38-42
- Other NT Examples - Samaritan; Demoniac; Zacchaeus; Cornelius; Lydia; Philippian Jailer
Characteristics of Refugee Teenagers as Persons of Peace
- Welcome; Receive; Extend
- Bilingual - translates for the gospel worker
- Bicultural - helps family/community, as well as worker, figure out respective cultures
- Learn - gently teaches family/community in practicalities, norms, etc.
- Lead - assists family/community in critical decision making (from their natural social position/family role
- Information - passes on/withholds information to family/community as needed
- Influence - submissively opens family/community to gospel influence
- Various levels of fidelity to first generation
- Conforming and Committed
- Rebellious and Recalcitrant
- Age and birth order considerations
- Gender considerations
- Male influence
- Female influence
- Other considerations - top three factors, in order, in measuring influence with family/community (according to our case study)
- Wage earners (this trumps them all)
- Age (the older the more influence)
- Respectful (submissive not subversive)
Case Study - Karenni Teens in Clarkston, GA
- In the past 4-5 months, our workers have seen at least 9 Karenni households baptized as followers of Jesus.
- The first followers of Jesus in each of these homes were teenagers, but now include younger and older brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents.
- The families were reached by an American, English-speaking worker through the interpretation (in all cases) and even direct influence (in some cases) of the believing teens.
- Common factors include:
- Lots of time spent with whole family previous to their response to gospel (4 years)
- Careful in observation of cultural dynamics/taboos (not being alone with opposite gender; getting permission from parents; being on time; etc.)
- Faithful in providing practical acts of service for teens and families
- Extensive discipleship of believing teens who were faithful to share the gospel with and teach younger siblings, as well as peers
- Combination of bold gospel proclamation and demonstration of love/power through service (including deliverance/healing) - How households came to faith in Jesus:
- Gospel Only - 1
- Service Only - 0
- Both Gospel and Service - 8
- What are some simple ways to identify people of peace in your community?
- Do you agree or disagree with the premise that teenagers can be people of peace in their communities? Why or why not?
- How might a refugee teenager, as an Interpreter, be a person of peace? A Navigator? A Gatekeeper?
- How have you seen these challenges play out in your local context? What other challenges exist for you?
- What are the advantages/disadvantages of working so heavily with teenagers? What is the potential for future success/failure?