You send them out among the lost to places that Jesus has led them to go.
What do you do when you get there?
You first have to gain access. The word “access” is used a lot in DMM circles. Access basically means a reason for being there. When you go to a new place where you don’t naturally belong, you need to find some means of access so the people in that place receive you & don’t immediately reject you.
Think about this.
Jesus has led you to go make disciples in a part of your town where you don’t typically go. In fact, if you were to go, you’d feel very out of place. And the people there would wonder why you’re there. You look different. You come from a different background. You have different cultural norms. If you go over into that part of town, you need a reason for being there. You need “access” so that the people in that part of town don’t immediately “kick you out.” Your reason for being there causes people to not be so skeptical of you.
Our DMM Coach, Stan, said, “Around the world, the number #1 way DMMers find those interested in God is by serving them (healing prayer, kind deed, community service) while consistently, simultaneously, and culturally appropriately pointing to God.”
Stan trained us to gain access by serving people through praying for healing for sick people and/or meeting practical needs in the area.
Luke 10:8-9 – “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’”
The primary way Jesus taught his disciples to gain access in new areas is by “healing the sick.” You can imagine how if you enter a place where you don’t belong & heal their sick, they will likely immediately receive you as a friend. You’ve served them in an extraordinary way & they’re eternally grateful.
As the disciples would heal the sick, people’s hearts would be open to hear the message about the “Kingdom of God.”
As we enter new places, we are training people to do what Jesus said to do. Gain access by healing the sick or meeting some practical need & then proclaim the Kingdom of God. We do both, not either/or. Stan said that some people enter new places & just serve people without proclaiming the Kingdom and other people enter new places & just proclaim the Kingdom without serving people. He said, “You don’t want to work with one hand tied behind your back.” Do BOTH!
How do you decide where to go?
Look at the beginning of Luke 10.
Luke 10:1 – “The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.”
We go to the places Jesus has prepared for us to go, just like the disciples went to the places he had planned to visit. We pray & listen to Jesus for direction in where to go. We want to join him where He’s already working & we trust that he will lead us to those places.
One thing we’ve realized is that he’s already revealed in Scripture the types of places he’s already likely to be working. In fact, he tells us when we visit these places & help these people, we’re actually doing it for him.
Do you remember the passage that talks about this in Matthew 25?
Matthew 25:31-40 – “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Jesus said that to serve these people is to serve him. To go to these people is to go to him. And in movements, we want to be where HE is!
We like to remember these groups of people Jesus described here by using the acronym PIPSY.
The first ‘P’ stands for Poor. The hungry, the thirsty, the naked. They’re poor & Jesus said when we feed them, give them drink, and clothe them, we’re doing it for him. It rings true to us that Jesus is often working among the poor because one of my DMM Coaches told me that virtually every known movement in the world has started among the poor. God cares about the poor & part of the mission of the Messiah prophesied about in the Old Testament is that he would proclaim the Good News to the poor.
Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
Jesus quotes from this passage in Luke 4:18 when he explains how that passage in Isaiah is fulfilled in his own life. The Spirit of the Lord is upon him & God has anointed him to bring Good News to who? The poor! It makes sense that the gospel would be Good News to the poor. The poor realize their need. Their need for food, clothing, shelter. Their need for someone to provide for them. Someone to help them. The rich often live & talk like they don’t have needs. Jesus even talks about how the rich are at a spiritual disadvantage & that it’s hard for rich people to get to heaven. No wonder almost every movement is breaking out among the poor. As we think about places where we want to go & gain access, we start with some of the poorest places in our town because we know when we go to them, we’re going to Jesus (according to Matthew 25). Jesus is working among the poor. Will you join him?
The ‘I’ stands for International. Internationals are some of the “strangers” among us. They’re not from here. They’ve moved here from the other side of the world & they don’t know many people. We’ve found that they are longing to be invited into an American home. Our church has seen so much fruit when we’ve invited internationals into our homes from the local university. Or exchange students from across the world. Internationals are often so receptive. They have a need. They’re in an unfamiliar place & they’re looking for someone to befriend them. When we invite them into our homes, Jesus says we’re essentially inviting him in! We’ve seen many internationals come to faith in Christ over the last few years & our family personally has had several internationals live with us that have come to faith in Christ. Our Phase One Goer Groups train ordinary Americans to find internationals, invite them into our homes, meet their needs, & proclaim the Kingdom of God. Jesus is working among internationals. Will you join him?
The second ‘P’ stands for Prisoner. Jesus said that when we visit the prisoner, we’re visiting him. He’s already at work among the prisoners. As you might imagine, prisoners are often at a very low point in life & can have a deep hunger for spiritual things. We have 10 campuses at our church & 3 of them are in jails. If you were to ask any of our staff which of our campuses seem to consistently have the most remarkable stories, almost everyone would tell you it’s at our Freedom Campuses (that’s what we call our campuses in the jails). I could tell you so many stories of how our visits to the prison have resulted in men & women being set on fire for God & mobilized to be disciple-makers in their neighborhoods when they get out. Jesus is working in the prisons. Will you join him?
The ’S’ stands for Sick. When we care for the sick, we’re caring for Jesus according to Matthew 25. Like I mentioned above, Jesus’ main strategy in Matthew 10 & Luke 10 for his disciples to gain access was healing the sick. When we’re looking for places where Jesus is already working, we should look for places with sick people. He’s already told us when we go to those places, we’re going to places where he’s moving. Jesus is working among sick people. Will you join him?
The ‘Y’ doesn’t stand for anything, it just turns PIPS into an adjective so we can use it in a sentence – haha! We often talk about a neighborhood being PIPSY or trying to find PIPSY people.
There is no question that our teams have borne the most fruit going to PIPSY places to gain access. We didn’t start out this way. Initially, everyone was going out among the lost somewhat arbitrarily. We weren’t really praying and asking the Lord to show us where he had prepared for us to go. We’d just go to a grocery store, or to a park or wherever & start talking to people. That’s not all bad, but we do believe we’ve gotten a lot more strategic lately in the places we’ve chosen to go.
One thing we consistently found when we became more strategic is that the non-PIPSY places were the least receptive to us. The richer parts of town usually didn’t have time for a spiritual conversation with us & when we asked if we could pray for them, they often weren’t interested. Sad, but true. Again, Jesus told us rich people are at a spiritual disadvantage. That doesn’t mean we should ignore them, but it definitely means that PIPSY areas are likely to bear more fruit.
When we started focusing our going out among the lost efforts on PIPSY places, we found a greater openness to spiritual conversations, serving people, praying for people, & starting groups.
I’m going to spend the next few blog posts sharing stories about some of the PIPSY places our teams have gone in the last few months.
Part 2 – Poor